Kim’s eldest son dishes dirt in upcoming book

Kyodo

Kim Jong Nam, the late Kim Jong Il’s eldest son, provides his own frank account of North Korea’s “Dear Leader” in a book that will hit stores Jan. 20, including his reluctance to let any of his sons take power, an editor at publisher Bungei Shunju Co. said.

The book by Yoji Gomi, a senior staff writer for the Tokyo Shimbun daily, is based on his extensive interviews with Kim Jong Nam and email exchanges between them, the editor said Friday.

In an email in January after Kim Jong Il’s funeral Dec. 28, Kim Jong Nam voiced his opposition to the hereditary succession system that led to his younger brother, Kim Jong Un, being appointed North Korea’s new leader.

Kim Jong Nam is also quoted by Gomi as saying that the existing power group will continue to hold the reins of power and plans to use the new, young leader as a symbol of North Korea.

Kim Jong Nam also said Kim Jong Il had remarked he wouldn’t let any of his sons take power.

Gomi met Kim Jong Nam at a chance meeting at Beijing Capital International Airport in 2004. Gomi interviewed him in Macao and Beijing last year for around seven hours.

Kim Jong Nam recently asked Gomi to delay the book’s publication, fearing it would displease Pyongyang, the Bungei Shunju editor said. But the publishing firm decided to release it anyway because it is “meaningful to deliver Kim Jong Nam’s real voice at a time when North Korea is drawing global attention,” the editor said.