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General Association of Korean Residents in Japan
(Chosen Soren)

Chosen Soren (the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan - Zainichi Chosenjin Sorengokai), the association of Korean residents in Japan, is North Korea's de facto embassy in Tokyo. Since Chosen was the formal name of Korea when Japan ruled the peninsula, and Japan does not have diplomatic relations with the North, Korean nationals who do not change their nationality to South Korea remain Chosen nationals.

The Chosen Soren (in Japanese), or Chongryon (in Korean), was founded on May 25, 1955. The number of members has declined from 290,000 in 1975 to 200,000 today. Its organizational structure includes the headquarters in Tokyo, prefectural and regional head offices and branches with eighteen mass propaganda bodies and twenty-three business enterprises. Nearly one-third of the Japanese pachinko [pinball] industry is controlled by Chosen affiliates or supporters. Chosen remittences in hard currencies to Pyongyang have been variously estimated at between $600 million and $1.9 billion each year, with the most likely value in the lower to middle of this range. In recent years the amount has substantially decreased. In 1994, Japanese police testified that some $600 million was being sent to North Korea, though this amount has recently declined to $100 million a year or less.

Gakushu-gumi is Chosen's underground organization, which is a quasi-formal body of the North Korean Workers' Party. Gakushu-gumi , with a membership estimated at 5,000, engages in intelligence activities and political maneuverings against South Korea. The Chosen Soren supports intelligence operations in Japan, assists in the infiltration of agents into South Korea, collects open source information, and diverts advanced technology for use by North Korea. North Korea uses several methods to acquire technology related to nuclear, biological, or chemical warfare and missiles. The Chosen Soren has among other activities an ongoing effort to acquire and export advanced technology to North Korea.




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