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Expert claims North Korea's leader is dead -

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Expert claims North Korea's leader is dead

The World Today - Monday, 8 September , 2008 12:50:00

Reporter: Karen Barlow

ELEANOR HALL: He doesn't appear in public very often so it's difficult to verify but there are
allegations today that North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il has in fact been dead for five years.

A Japanese expert on North Korea is claiming that the role of the "Dear Leader" has instead been
played by a group of doubles since 2003, when he says the President died of diabetes.

Karen Barlow has our report.

KAREN BARLOW: The word "reclusive" hardly does Kim Jong-il justice. The 66-year-old was last seen
in public on August the 14th when he inspected a military unit.

He is known for dipping out of the international spotlight for months on end, especially when
relations with other countries such as the US are strained.

The leader has been thought to be ill for some time but Japanese-North Korean expert Professor
Toshimitsu Shigemura is proposing a far worse state.

TOSHIMITSU SHIGEMURA: Already he has died. A lot of information came from Pyongyang.

KAREN BARLOW: The proof of the North Korean leader's passing is varied and rest on the main claim
that Kim Jong-il is being played by a number of convincing imposters. The fake Kims are said to be
the wrong height and are always shadowed by one of four senior military figures.

TOSHIMITSU SHIGEMURA: A Japanese TV station checked his voice print four years ago and the result
was the voice was different, the former Kim Jong-il and now Kim Jong-il, so there are questions.

KAREN BARLOW: Kim Jong-il's secret death is impossible to verify and other North Korean experts
have called the claim silly.

Professor Toshimitsu Shigemura is not completely certain himself but has been in contact with
unnamed close friends of Kim Jong-il.

TOSHIMITSU SHIGEMURA: But they are pretty high, maybe 60 per cent or 70 per cent; it's possible.

KAREN BARLOW: Not a hundred per cent?

TOSHIMITSU SHIGEMURA: Yeah, we can trust those persons so we trust, we are trusting this person
with the information.

KAREN BARLOW: This would mean that the world, including Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao, have been
negotiating with an impostor.

TOSHIMITSU SHIGEMURA: Yeah.

KAREN BARLOW: Kim Jong-il has ruled the secretive Communist state since the death of his father Kim
Il-Sung in 1994 but his father remains the state's eternal President beyond death.

So who pulls the strings now if Professor Shigemura's claims are correct?

TOSHIMITSU SHIGEMURA: Well some of the military leaders, also the party leaders, and government
leaders. Several person is conducting the North Korea's government, yeah. Actually the North Korean
Government is guided by those people, those leaders, not only one person. Now they are collective
leaderships.

KAREN BARLOW: The best chance to test the theory could come tomorrow when Kim Jong-il is due to
appear at a military parade celebrating 60 years since the founding of North Korea.

TOSHIMITSU SHIGEMURA: He will be the double Kim Jong-il, it will be positive.

KAREN BARLOW: You're certain of that?

TOSHIMITSU SHIGEMURA: Yeah. Maybe he will appear, I think.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Japanese Professor Toshimitsu Shigemura ending that report by Karen Barlow.