The forged passport used in a recent illegal entry attempt by a man believed to be the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had been used three times before to successfully enter Japan, Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama said Tuesday.

“I heard that the passport has prints that indicate entry (into Japan) had been made three times (before the latest incident),” Moriyama told a news conference after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

“But we don’t know whether the passport had been used by the same man who used it the other day,” she said.

However, Moriyama didn’t elaborate on exactly when the forged Dominican Republic passport had been used before.

In justifying the government’s move to quickly deport the man, believed to be 29-year-old Kim Jong Nam, to China, Moriyama said: “Had we dragged our feet, things would have become only complicated and entangled. I believe that wouldn’t have made the situation any better.”

Moriyama went on to call for increased personnel at the Immigration Bureau and more equipment to check people trying to enter Japan, noting that the World Cup soccer finals to be held in Japan next year will further fuel the number of people entering and leaving the country.

Fourth stop on tour

SEOUL (Kyodo) The man Tokyo deported on Friday, believed to be the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, arrived in Japan on a forged passport after visiting China, Vietnam and Singapore, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday.

Yonhap quoted government sources as saying the man, who identified himself to Japanese immigration authorities as Kim Jong Nam, was believed to have visited communist-ruled Vietnam to observe how its formerly centrally controlled economy functions after it introduced market mechanisms.

They said he probably also visited Singapore to look into its information technology industry.

Kim reportedly became head of a Pyongyang government panel on IT in 1998, and some North Korea watchers speculate that he tried to get into Japan to learn about IT industries here.

North Korea is now promoting IT sectors as a state policy.

As for his trip to China, North Korean diplomats and political figures regularly travel via Beijing to other destinations due to its proximity and good flight connections.

Tokyo immigration officials said the man told them he was the son of Kim Jong Il, and his group “planned to go to Tokyo Disneyland.” He arrived May 1 on a Japan Airlines flight from Singapore along with two women and a 4-year-old boy. They were all deported to China on Friday.

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