NORTH KOREA: Japanese Journalist Gets Inside Look— Military More Independent than Expected

In a meeting with South Korean reporters, Japanese journalist, Yoji Gomi, a staff writer for Japan daily newspaper Tokyo Shimbun, claims that the late North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il, did not have full control of his military. He further speculates that the military is probably behind the recent rocket launch plans – possibly wholly independent of Kim Jong-un’s recent succession.

“Gomi said he believed the North’s military may have had an independent voice in the recently announced decision to launch a rocket,” reports Yonhap News, a Korean wire-service. Gomi interviewed the late leader’s eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, who said his “father did not fully control the military.”

The Japanese journalist is currently in Seoul to promote the newly published Korean language version of his book on Kim Jong-nam.  Yonhap News reports that “it is almost impossible for foreign media to get independent confirmation on the military’s clout” in a country that is isolated and has a tightly controlled media system.

But at least Gomi has raised an important, if alarming, possibility.


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Yonhap News


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