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Temple head announces decision not to buy pro-Pyongyang group's land


A Japanese Buddhist temple's chief priest officially announced Friday that the temple has dropped a plan to buy the Tokyo headquarters site of a pro-Pyongyang group.

"We encountered various hurdles," Ekan Ikeguchi, head of Saifuku temple in Kagoshima, said at a press conference in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, referring to the temple's inability to finance the 4.5 billion yen purchase by the Friday deadline. "I'm devastated."

The temple's winning bid in March for the land and head office building of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, known as Chongryon, was cancelled, and another auction will likely to be held around this summer. Chongryon serves as North Korea's de facto diplomatic mission in Japan in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The temple cannot participate again in the bidding, and its security deposit of about 500 million yen will be forfeited.