[EDITORIALS] Bizarre, Yes, but Surprising, No

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[EDITORIALS] Bizarre, Yes, but Surprising, No

We are dumfounded by the egregious misstep by North Korea. Japanese press reports say that a man who is believed to be Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of North Korea's National Defense Commission chairman, Kim Jong-il, was detained after attempting to enter Japan on a forged passport with three people believed to be his family members, including a wife and a son. The Japanese authorities did not confirm nor deny the reports, expelling them to China quickly. Considering the actions Japanese authorities took, it appears that the reports about the incident are true.

According to the Japanese press, the man in question already had visited Japan twice on the forged passport and the nationality on the passport was "Korean." The Japanese media are speculating that Kim Jong-nam, who is in charge of the information industry in the North, tried to enter Japan to study that nation's information technology. Some reports theorize that U.S. intelligence agencies informed the Japanese government in advance to arrest Mr. Kim, reflecting the recent friction in the U.S. - DPRK relation.

We do not know the truth about this incident, which is a humiliation for the North, with the son of its leader trying to enter a foreign country on a forged passport. There must be complex problems including procedural matters for North Koreans to travel to Japan, with which it has no diplomatic relations. Regardless of the purpose of travel, Mr. Kim has made a serious mistake by employing illegal methods to enter a foreign country, providing further evidence that North Korea does not respect international laws, order and courtesy. Under the current situation in which the United States regards the North as "a rogue state," this incident confirms the image of North Korea's leadership as untrustworthy and unpredictable. If North Koreans were able to travel overseas freely with passports, such an event would not happen.

The closed system of North Korea caused the bizarre incident in which Kim Jong-nam was expelled from Japan. We hope this rings a warning bell for the North Korean leadership.

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