Ex-Head Of Korea Is Ailing

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Ex-Head Of Korea Is Ailing

With his wife at his side, former President Kim Young-sam of South Korea left for Japan to undergo a physical checkup and treatment for an enlarged prostate, Representative Park Chong-ung said Thursday.

"Don't worry about me," the former president told family and friends who saw the couple off at the airport, "I am going light-heartedly."

Upon his arrival, Mr. Kim was admitted to an unidentified Tokyo hospital specializing in treatment of urological problems, Mr. Park said.

He added that Mr. Kim plans to return to Seoul on Nov. 25, after his treatment is complete.

Political insiders reacted with surprise to the news of Mr. Kim's sudden departure, as the former president has long been an advocate of maintaining good health.

Although he underwent medical treatment in 1982, after going on a hunger strike for 23 days, he was not admitted to hospital during his presidency.

"We have to wait and see before we know exactly what the disease is, but it is highly likely that it is a urological problem that elderly men often have," a close aide said.

by Lee Soo-ho

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