Japanese crack down on pro-DPRK Chongryun

Herald Tribune

Japanese police raid pro-North Korea group over alleged accounting violation

Japanese police raided offices of a pro-North Korean association and later arrested an executive over suspected accounting violations on Tuesday, the latest crackdown as Tokyo intensifies pressure on the reclusive communist regime.

Investigators searched the offices of the Hyogo chamber of commerce affiliated with the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, which acts as Pyongyang’s de facto embassy, prefectural (state) police spokesman Naoki Awazu said.

Awazu said no other details were immediately available.

Police suspect a 36-year-old former senior official at the group’s local business office helped North Korea-affiliated companies and offices evade taxes and provided accounting services without a license, Kyodo News agency reported.

Eitetsu Kawa, a North Korean living in Japan, was later arrested on suspicion of accounting law violations.

Japan has been cracking down on the residents’ association amid concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and chemical weapons programs, but it was not immediately known if Tuesday’s raid was linked.

The reclusive regime angered Japan and other nations when it tested ballistic missiles in July and conducted a nuclear test in October.

Pro-Pyongyang Japanese residents have come under increasing scrutiny by authorities as tensions have escalated with North Korea.

Tokyo was also planning to urge local governments to review preferential property taxes for facilities owned by North Korean organizations to check on how the pro-North association uses its buildings and facilities.

On Tuesday, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency protested the recent raids, calling them “an infringement upon the dignity of (North Korea) and a vicious political provocation.”

Last week, police raided the association’s Tokyo headquarters and its offices in the northern Japanese city of Niigata on suspicion that a relative of a group official illegally obtained a small amount medical supplies for shipment to the impoverished country.

In August, Japanese police arrested a pro-North resident in Japan for allegedly exporting to the North machinery that can be used to make biological weapons.

In March, Japanese police raided another pro-North Korea local chamber of commerce in connection with Pyongyang’s abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.


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