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Report: Kim Jong Un's uncle had traveled to Japan under pseudonym

Jang was frequently cited as Pyongyang’s No. 2 man before his untimely death in 2013.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Jan. 6, 2016 at 10:59 AM
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SEOUL, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un's uncle traveled to Japan at least twice between 1983 and 1991 using a fake passport, officials said Wednesday.

Jang Song Thaek, who was executed in December 2013 on charges of treason and corruption, traveled to Japan for health reasons, Kyodo News reported.

South Korean and Japanese officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said "Jang Song Thaek, who acted as Kim Jong Un's guardian, visited to gain a better understanding of social conditions in Japan, and to treat a chronic illness," South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported.

Jang visited Japan in April 1983 and September 1991. In 1983 Jang visited as a member of a North Korean musical troupe, and in 1991 he posed as a member of a construction inspection team. In both instances Jang was admitted to a hospital near Tokyo.

South Korean and Japanese officials said each time the purpose of Jang's visit was to receive medical treatment in Japan.

Jang was frequently cited as Pyongyang's No. 2 man before his death in 2013.

In an era of friendlier inter-Korea relations, Jang even visited a South Korean bookstore in central Seoul in October 2002.

But political shifts in North and South Korea eventually contributed to a return to tensions.

Jang's execution has had an impact on Kim's aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, who has been absent from public events since late 2013.

South Korea's Unification Ministry stated Kim's name was no longer included in a list of cabinet members, the list of Workers' Party secretaries or the Party's Politburo.

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