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Kim Jong Il's Eldest Son Speaks Out In Forthcoming Book

Kim Jong Book

First Posted: 01/12/12 04:51 PM ET Updated: 01/13/12 03:58 AM ET

Kim Jong Il's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, will apparently dish the dirt on the political situation in North Korea in a forthcoming book.

According to The Washington Post, it will include "his belief that the current elite will continue to maintain power but use the young new leader as a government symbol." The claims will be published in a book by journalist Yoji Gomi on January 20.

Gomi's book, based on "extensive interviews" with 38-year-old Kim Jong Nam, will outline Kim's "opposition to the hereditary succession system that led to his younger brother, Kim Jong Un, being appointed North Korea's new leader," according to The Japan Times, who also reported that although Kim Jong Nam recently asked to delay the book's publication, the Japanese publishing firm Bungei Shunju decided to release it anyway.

When the leader of a single-party country dies, the torch is traditionally passed on to the eldest son. But Kim Jong Nam, who was long thought to be the man who would fill his father's shoes, was denied the position.

His younger half-brother Kim Jong Un was made the heir apparent in 2001, after Kim Jong Nam was arrested trying to enter Japan using a fake passport. Though his reasons for visiting the country seemed to be innocuous enough (AP writes, "he wanted to visit Disney's Tokyo resort"), the incident caused him to fall out of favor with his father and the regime.

At the time of Kim Jong Il's death last month, North Korea had already begun transferring their country's leadership responsibilities to Kim Jong Un.

The details of how and why this came about have until now been a mystery to observers in the west.

For such a secretive country, any peek into its political workings will be closely studied by many who are keen to better understand North Korea's enigmatic leadership. It is not yet known if the book will be published in English.

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Filed by Madeleine Crum  |