Chongryon's Tokyo office to be acquired for 5 bil. yen

A bidder won an auction to acquire the Tokyo headquarters site of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, known as Chongryon, for 5.01 billion yen, the Tokyo District Court said Thursday.

The successful bidder is named "Avar Limited Liability Company," but detailed information, including its location and the names of its representatives, remain unknown.

The bid is due to receive the court's final approval on Tuesday.

Chongryun, which serves as North Korea's de facto diplomatic mission in Japan in the absence of diplomatic ties, could be forced to move out of its head office if asked to do so by the successful bidder.

Only two bidders submitted bids in the second round of the auction held from Oct. 3 to 10, court officials said.

In the first round earlier this year, a Buddhist temple in Kagoshima Prefecture offered the highest bidding price of 4,519 million yen for the 10-story head office with two basement floors and the 2,387-square-meter tract of land in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, but it failed to pay the bidding price by the deadline and was eliminated in the second round of the auction.

The temple's chief priest is known for maintaining close ties with senior officials of the North Korean government and Chongryon.

The court decided in July 2012 to hold an auction for Chongryon's headquarters as demanded by the Japanese government-backed Resolution and Collection Corp., which is owed about 62.7 billion yen by Chongryon following the collapse of financial institutions in Japan for pro-North Korean residents.