• Kyodo


North Korea may convene its pivotal Workers’ Party of Korea conference in early October, former politician and pro wrestler Antonio Inoki said Saturday after a six-day trip to the country.

“I got the impression that (the meeting) will be held immediately before the 65th anniversary of the party’s founding on Oct. 10,” Inoki, a former member of the House of Councilors, told journalists at Beijing airport.

The ruling party apparently has delayed a conference of delegates it earlier said would be held in “early September” to elect its “highest leading body.”

Inoki said North Korea appears to have suffered “serious damage” from torrential rains and a typhoon this summer, indicating the conference was postponed due to reconstruction and rehabilitation work.

Inoki said the North Korean people appear to have “tacit understanding” that leader Kim Jong Il’s third son Jong Un is his heir apparent. But Inoki said he didn’t see any photos or portraits of Kim Jong Un while he was there to attend the opening ceremony Friday of the 12th Pyongyang International Film Festival, which runs through Sept. 24.

Inoki is known in North Korea as a disciple of the late wrestler Rikidozan, who hailed from that country.

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