Chongryon Headquarters purchased by religious organisation

*Update: Chief Priest Ekan Ikeguchi of Buddhist temple Saifukuji announced at a press conference on May 10 that he can no longer purchase the building as the temple was unable to obtain financing. As a result, he will lose his 500 million Yen deposit and be banned from bidding on the building when it goes up for auction again this summer.*

A Kagoshima-based religious organisation made the highest bid to purchase the Chongryon Headquarters / North Korean Embassy in Tokyo’s Chiyoda-ku. Saifukuji – a part of the Shingon Buddhism sect – bid 4.519 billion Yen (48 million USD) for the property.

A total of four bids were made on the 10 storey office building. The district court had set a minimum allowable bid of 2.134 billion Yen.

Chongryon were prohibited from bidding on the property and will be forced to move out of the building if the new owner decides not to keep them on as tenants. 

As long as there are no problems, permission for the sale should be granted on March 29. Saifukuji will then have one month to transfer the balance of the purchase price.

According to the Saifukuji’s home page, the chief priest has made several visits to North Korea in the past. The priest is also the leader of a Japan-North Korea friendship organization and had previously interviewed a member of the group who hijacked Japan Airlines Flight 351.

View interior images of the building here.

Sources:
The Sankei Shimbun, March 26, 2013.
The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2013. 

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