On June 11, The Washington Post Beijing bureau chief Anna Fifield’s new book, “The Great Successor” will be published by PublicAffairs. The Japan Times’ contributing writer Martin Laflamme discusses with Fifield the experience of writing her book, how she tracked down sources and her thoughts on Kim Jong Un’s North Korea.

Many defectors told you that even before they fled North Korea, they understood that much of the propaganda was bunkum. Some even used very explicit language to say that Kim Jong Un was “a piece of s—-,” that he was “not capable” and that “they knew the truth.” However, given the constant indoctrination and state of total surveillance that is prevalent in North Korea, such views are surprising. Is it possible that these thoughts were formed after the defectors fled and then projected backwards?

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