Tuesday, Oct 28, 2008
Japan’s prime minister said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is likely in hospital but able to make decisions, fuelling concerns over the reclusive dictator’s health after a reported stroke.
Citing intelligence reports, Prime Minister Taro Aso told a parliamentary committee on foreign policy that Japan has “information that he is probably in hospital.”
“Anyway, his condition isn’t good. But we don’t think that he’s in a state where he’s incapable of making any decisions at all,” Aso said.
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“Our understanding is that if that were the case, we would be seeing different developments,” he said without elaborating.
The state of Kim’s health — and the question over who would succeed him — has been a topic of intense speculation since he failed to appear at a key anniversary parade in early September.
US and South Korean officials say the 66-year-old recluse is believed to have suffered a stroke.