Japanese court orders seizure of pro-N. Korean group


A Japanese court Monday allowed the seizure of the headquarters of a pro-North Korean organization based in Japan because of its failure to repay its debts, a news report said.

In its ruling, the Tokyo District Court ordered the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, better known here as “Chongryon,” to repay 62.7 billion yen to a government debt-collection body, the Kyodo News Agency reported.

Resolution and Collection Corp. (RCC) is expected to start procedures to confiscate the organization’s building, as it claims that the debt was part of loans extended by now-defunct credit unions associated with the group.

The RCC, which took over the non-performing loans from the credit unions, claimed that Chongryon is bound to pay the 62.7 billion yen (US$508 million) as the money was effectively purported to be handed over to Chongryon under the arrangements of the credit associations.

In connection with the suit, an investment advisory firm headed by the former chief of the Public Security Intelligence Agency, Shigetake Ogata, tried in vain to purchase the Chongryon head office for 3.5 billion yen (US$28.4 million) in an effort to prevent the premises from being seized.

Chongryon acknowledged the existence of the loans, but failed to reach an out-of-court settlement with the RCC.

Chongryon argued that the RCC, a public organization, had no right to demand that Chongryon pay the loans at face value, since the RCC had acquired the debts at very low prices.

“There is a purpose in depriving Chongryon of the headquarters’ premises and leading it to dissolution,” Chongryon said. “It offends public order and morality.”


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