Ex-director of Japanese domestic intelligence convicted of fraud



By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The former head of Japan’s Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) has been handed a suspended prison sentence for defrauding North Korea’s de facto embassy in Tokyo. After a trial that lasted more than a year, Shigetake Ogata, who headed Japan’s primary domestic intelligence agency from 1993 to 1995, was found to have conspired to defraud Chongryon of about ¥484 million yen (US$ 5.1 million). Chongryon, which is known as General Association of North Korean Residents in Japan, represents the interests of over 200,000 long-term Korean residents in Japan who are ideologically aligned to North Korea. The group is generally considered to represent the Pyongyang government in Japan, in the absence of official diplomatic relations between the two nations. In 2007, Chongryon made it known that it wished to sell its 10-storey headquarters in downtown Tokyo, to prevent its being auctioned to pay off fines to the Japanese government. Surprisingly, they were approached by Ogata, who in the mid-1990s headed the Japanese intelligence organization tasked with monitoring the activities of the Chongryon. Along with a real-estate partner, Tadao Mitsui, Ogata offered to purchase the building prior to it being auctioned. But Ogata and Mitsui falsely told the group that, in order to complete the purchase, they needed ¥484 million to buy their way out of an overseas contract. In reality, no such contract existed, and the two men effectively defrauded Chongryon of the amount, which has since been refunded to the organization. Ogata’s suspended jail sentence is for 34 months, while Mitsui has been given a three-year sentence.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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