Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun has an interesting story that alleges Kim Jong-il had direct oversight over the abductions of Japanese nationals during the 1970’s and 1980’s. General-Secretary Kim previously denied that he ordered or participated in the planning of these abductions, which until recently were a sticking point in negotiations between the DPRK and Japan. The DPRK supposedly abducted Japanese citizens for the purposes of the Japanese to train clandestine North Korean operatives in Japanese language, culture and protocol for intelligence operations against Japan. The report singles out Office #35 (a/k/a External Liaison Department) of the Korean Workers’ Party. It is believed that the External Liaison Department was transferred from the Korean Workers’ Party to the National Defense Commission. It is also possible that the kidnappings were a joint operation by Office #35 and the Operations Department. I will try to cobble together something about the External Liaison Department, whose recent possible transition I have neglected.