June 23, 2015 10:46
The Japanese Embassy in Korea will move to a temporary location in downtown Seoul as its existing building is being renovated. The Japanese Embassy on Sunday said the mission will be temporarily relocated to the Twin Tree Tower next to the existing building.
The existing five-story building will get an extra floor above ground and two more floors will be added to the basement, expanding the structure to three times the floor space.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government gave the green light for the construction in March but kept the renovation plan under wraps at the behest of the Foreign Ministry.
The Japanese Embassy building was built in 1976 and a plan to rebuild it was rejected in 2012 due to its close proximity to a historic palace. But stimulus measures to boost the real estate market made it possible for the project to go ahead.
It is unclear when the new building will be completed. Japanese Embassy officials said budgetary considerations made it difficult to forecast a completion date. Seoul officials said the construction could be delayed if Chosun-era artifacts are discovered underground.
The narrow street in front of the embassy has been the scene of weekly protests by women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II. But the temporary embassy sits beside a major boulevard, which will make continuing the demonstrations difficult.
Activists supporting the former sex slaves said they will make a decision soon.
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