October 17, 2013
A company rumored to be of a Mongolian origin has 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 was named as “Avar Limited Liability Company,” but detailed information such as its location and the name of its representative remain unknown.
The bid is due to receive the court’s final approval on Tuesday.
Chongryon, 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 parties submitted bids in the second round of the auction held from Oct. 3 to 10, court officials said.
Japan has asked Mongolia, which has diplomatic relations with North Korea, to cooperate in resolving the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s. Mongolia hosted talks between senior diplomats of Japan and North Korea in the capital Ulan Bator in November last year.
In Ulan Bator on Thursday, a man who claims to be the president of Avar Limited Liability Company effectively acknowledged that the company had won the bidding.
“I don’t think you have wrong information” about the deal, the unidentified man told Kyodo News over the telephone.
Kyodo contacted him through a mobile phone number listed in official registration information.
Asked whether he is president of the company, the man said, “Yes.”
However, an Ulan Bator official said the company’s address listed in the information does not exist.
In the first round of the auction earlier this year, a Buddhist temple in Kagoshima Prefecture offered the highest bid 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 bid 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.