Yoji Gomi, Senior Staff Writer, Tokyo Shimbun, author of “My Father, Kim Jong Il, and I: Kim Jong Nam’s Exclusive Confession” gave press conference given at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Jan 24, 2012.
For journalists, getting reliable information out of North Korea is notoriously difficult. Getting a one-on-one interview with an insider with unique insight into the family that has run the country since it was created, the party, the politics and the people definitely counts as a scoop.
Yoji Gomi, a journalist with the Tokyo Shimbun, must thank the gods of journalism for the chance meeting in a Beijing airport with Kim Jong-Nam.
The oldest son of the recently departed Dear Leader, Kim Jong-nam was apparently being groomed to succeed Kim Jong-il as leader of the reclusive state until he was arrested in May 2001 trying to enter Japan on a forged Dominican Republic passport with two women and a boy aged 4. He told Japanese police that he wanted to visit Disneyland.
Furious at his son’s indiscretion, Kim Jong-il banished him to Macau and turned to Kim Jong-un as his eventual successor.
After meeting Gomi in Beijing, the journalist interviewed the man who could have been ruling North Korea, in Macao and through more than 150 e-mails. The result is the timely release, on January 20, of “My Father, Kim Jong-Il, and I: Kim Jong-Nam’s Exclusive Confession.”
Gomi commented on Kim Jong-Nam’s opposition to the hereditary transition of power to his half-brother and his ambition to one day return to his homeland.