His father was Dear Leader, his younger half-brother brother is now the Great Successor, and he, apparently, is the Great Nuthin. Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s longtime dictator who died in December, is believed to spend much of his time in the casinos of Macau, a Chinese territory.
Kim Jong Nam also apparently has been talking at length to a Japanese journalist for a book due out in Japan on January 20, according to the Japan Times.
The newspaper quotes an editor at the publisher Bungei Shunju as saying that Kim Jong Nam will offer his own frank account of Kim Jong Il. Among the highlights, the publisher says, is the revelation that Kim Jong Il wasn’t happy about handing over power to any of his sons.
Kim Jong Il and his eldest son, it is believed, had a falling out some years ago and Kim Jong Nam has lived outside of North Korea for much of that time. Time magazine reports that Kim Jong Nam “was once thought to be favored to succeed his father,” before Kim Jong Un took over that role.
Britain’s Daily Mail reports that Kim Jong Un was rumored to have tried to assassinate his older brother in Macau in 2009.
In the book, Kim Jong Nam will discuss his opposition to hereditary succession and his belief that the current elite will continue to maintain power but use the young new leader as a government symbol.
But a quick check of the files shows that Kim Jong Nam has already publicly voiced his opposition to hereditary rule back in 2010 and early last year said that his father wasn’t keen about passing leadership onto his sons.
With so little information flowing out of North Korean sources, Kim Jong Nam’s book could be a gold mine. But based on the previews, the betting is that precious little will emerge even from those who truly have something to dish.