The online news portal of TV5
TOKYO—Japan's top court has authorised the seizure of North Korea's de facto embassy to pay off debts, local media reported on Thursday.
The Supreme Court upheld previous rulings that Japan's government debt collection body can auction off the headquarters of Chongryon, the organisation that represents North Korean interests in Japan in the absence of diplomatic ties.
The Resolution and Collection Corporation (RCC) was demanding repayment of 62.7 billion yen ($789 million) from Chongryon and seeking to impound property as collateral, including the group's headquarters in Tokyo.
Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Koreans live in Japan, mostly a legacy of those who emigrated or were forced to move to Japan during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.
About 10 percent are believed to be affiliated with Chongryon, which charges that the community is persecuted by authorities and harassed by right-wing activists.
The Tokyo metropolitan government, headed by nationalist Shintaro Ishihara, in 2003 suspended a tax break which Chongryon enjoyed due to the building's quasi-diplomatic status.