Kim Jong-nam 'not endangered' by North Korea book

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Kim Jong-nam 'protected' by book published about North Korea

An author has defended a book in which the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expresses doubts about the future of the Communist state.

Kim Jong-nam fell out of favour years ago and has been living in China.

Japanese author Yoji Gomi said he was no longer in contact with Kim Jong-nam but believed he was "doing fine".

Mr Gomi told the BBC that he did not believe that the publication of his book in January 2012 would put Kim Jong-nam in any danger.

When his book was published, readers gained an insight into North Korea's enigmatic first family through the reported views of Kim Jong-nam.

He was the man passed over in the world's only Communist dynastic succession.

Kim Jong-nam's opinions about North Korea's future course after the death of his father Kim Jong-il were far from complimentary.

In the book, which draws on interviews and emails, Kim Jong-nam is quoted as saying he believes his younger half-brother lacks leadership qualities, the succession will not work, and that North Korea is unstable and needs Chinese-style economic reform.

Not in contact

Interviewed by the BBC Chinese service, Tokyo journalist Yoji Gomi said Kim Jong-nam had wanted to speak out.

But since the book's publication, he said there had "not really" been any reaction from Mr Kim and he was not in touch with him now.

"When I told him about my book, he said that we should not contact each other any more if I insisted on publishing it," said Mr Gomi.

"He wanted me to wait for a while because in Korea when someone dies you remain silent for 100 days and it wasn't then 100 days since (his father's death).

"However, I want people to know how Kim Jong-nam thinks at this particular moment when Kim Jong-un starts his new regime and nobody knows where North Korea is heading."

Yoji Gomi insisted that, far from putting Kim Jong-nam in danger, his book was actually protecting him, because "nobody can do anything while he is getting all the attention."

The author admitted he was no longer in contact with Kim Jong-nam, but he said he did not worry.

"According to an acquaintance of an acquaintance of mine, he (Kim Jong-nam) is living in Macau and is doing fine," he said.