Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Soviet Union Lingers in Heart of Tokyo

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Soviet Union Lingers in Heart of Tokyo

Article excerpt

MOSCOW -- It would seem that "territories" of the Soviet Union still exist in central Tokyo. The former geopolitical entity, dissolved in 1991, still nominally owns real estate, such as its embassy and other offices, in prime Tokyo locations because Ukraine, the second-most populated republic of the former Soviet Union, has been opposing the transfer of their ownership to today's Russia.

Though governments of the other countries have allowed real estate under the name of the Soviet Union to be transferred to Russia, Tokyo said it is waiting for an agreement over the issue to be reached between Russia and Ukraine.

Since disputes between members of the former Soviet Union have been fueled further with conflicts in eastern Ukraine and Russia's annexation of Crimea, the real estate is likely to remain in limbo for the time being.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Japan is located in the Azabudai district of Minato Ward, near Tokyo Tower. Its huge plot of land surrounded by high walls covers 10,325 square meters. The land was purchased by the then Soviet Union in December 1927. Its owner is still registered as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

According to benchmark land prices announced Thursday by the Tokyo metropolitan government, the value of land in a commercial area in the Higashi-Azabu 1-chome district of Minato Ward near the Russian Embassy has reached 2.33 million yen per square meter.

According to Russian diplomatic sources, there are more than 10 real estate assets still registered to the former Soviet Union. In addition to the embassy, the office of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation is located in a prime residential area in the Takanawa district of the ward, and a recreational facility attached to the embassy is in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Around 2008, Russia planned to redevelop the aging building of the Trade Representation of the Soviet Union, which now accommodates the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation. …

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