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Editorial: Demand clear explanation on resale of Chongryon headquarters building

  • 2015-01-30 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: January 30, 2015 – p. 5)


 A situation we had feared has actually come to pass. The building housing the central headquarters of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) in a prime downtown location in Tokyo, which was auctioned off, has been resold by the bid winner and Chongryon is now expected to continue to remain in the building through a lease contract.


 The result of a series of bids involving various individuals has turned out to benefit Chongryon, which has a strong desire to maintain its headquarters.


 We demand a clear explanation from the parties in this deal and their intermediary on their relation to Chongryon, funds used in the deal, and other matters. Without such explanation, suspicions will remain on what the bids were all about.


 The real estate company Marunaka Holdings of Takamatsu City won the bid at the price of 2.2 billion yen after several twists and turns. It had once stated that it would not resale the property to parties related to Chongnyon. Former House of Councillors member Toshio Yamaguchi later brokered a resale deal with a real estate company in Yamagata Prefecture, resulting in the building changing hands for around 4.4 billion yen.


 Yamaguchi explained that he brokered the deal “for the sake of Japan-North Korea relations” and Chongryon is now expected to remain in the building through a lease contract with the new owner.


 Will it be acceptable to the people that the debtor ends up not having to leave the building after an enormous amount of tax money was used to dispose of bad loans? While this is supposed to be a transaction between private citizens, many questions remained unanswered in terms of how the final buyer raised funds and whether a proper lease contract will be signed.


 North Korea has sought the Japanese government’s consideration regarding the auctioning of the Chongryon headquarters building in the bilateral negotiation process. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated that “the courts are undertaking the procedures, so the political authorities will not be able to interfere in the judiciary.”


 This affair must not be seen as a concession to North Korea. We also demand a clear explanation from the government. (Slightly abridged)

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