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Report: Japanese chef to Kim Jong Il returning to North Korea

Kenji Fujimoto is making his second visit to Pyongyang this year.

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: Japanese chef to Kim Jong Il returning to North Korea
Kim Jong Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong Un, retained a Japanese sushi chef who subsequently left North Korea without Pyongyang’s permission. Kenji Fujimoto is returning to meet with Kim, according to Japanese press reports. File Photo by KCNA

SEOUL, May 31 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Il's mysterious sushi chef is back in the spotlight.

Kenji Fujimoto, the former chef to the deceased North Korean leader, left for Pyongyang on Tuesday, Kyodo News reported.

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Fujimoto last visited North Korea on April 12-23.

Fujimoto was seen at an airport in Beijing, getting ready to board an Air Koryo flight bound for the North Korean capital.

The former chef said he plans to meet with Kim Jong Un, according to Kyodo. The two have known each other well since Kim's childhood, and according to Fujimoto, Kim has suggested the Japanese citizen bring Tokyo and Pyongyang closer together.

"[Kim] said that he thought it would be a good idea if I played a bridging role between Pyongyang and the Japanese government," Fujimoto had said in April.

But according to Kyodo, Fujimoto was not carrying any messages to North Korea on behalf of the Japanese government.

Fujimoto previously told press that Kim "has no mind to start a war," but that "every time he sends an envoy [overseas] the envoy is forced to face false charges" about Pyongyang's provocations.

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The former sushi chef was suggesting that Kim Jong Un was irritated by unilateral U.S. sanctions and military threats from rivals.

North Korea delivered another denunciation of the United States on Tuesday, claiming Pyongyang was being threatened by the "aggressive" U.S. military alliance with Japan and South Korea.

The United States is also trying to gain control of a rising China and an emerging Russia, KCNA stated.

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