National / Crime & Legal

Two men detained after firing shots at pro-North Korea group’s Tokyo headquarters

Kyodo, JIJI

Two men were arrested Friday morning after firing shots at the headquarters of a pro-Pyongyang group in Tokyo, police said.

The two men, identified as right-wing activists Satoshi Katsurada, 56, and Yoshinori Kawamura, 46, rode in a van up to the gate of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, known as Chongryon, in Chiyoda Ward at around 3:50 a.m. and Kawamura fired several shots, police said.

The bullets hit the gate and no one was injured in the incident, police said.

The two were arrested on suspicion of vandalism by Metropolitan Police Department riot policemen posted to the site.

Both men have admitted to the charges, according to the police.

Chongryon was established in 1955 with the aim of protecting the rights of North Korean residents in Japan. It has branches nationwide, and its main headquarters in Tokyo effectively serves as the North Korean embassy in Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The building that houses the headquarters was sold to a real estate company in 2014 through a court-led auction. The auction was held at the request of Resolution and Collection Corp. over Chongryon’s debt to the government-affiliated body. The property was later resold to another company, but Chongryon has continued to use it.