TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told ministers at a special security meeting to prepare for any unexpected circumstances, including financial or border issues, following news of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the top government spokesman said on Monday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura also told a news conference that Japan would work closely with the United States, South Korea and China in seeking further information.
“Prime Minister Noda instructed ministers at the security meeting to prepare for the unexpected, including financial matters, North Korea’s domestic issues and border affairs,” Fujimura said. “There are various issues.”
He said the ministers reached no conclusion on whether to raise the level of alert for Japan’s military, but the matter might be raised in subsequent meetings.
“At present, we have no confirmation on the successor but we’re closely watching. According to the North Korean announcement, they will accept people expressing condolences from December 20 to 27 and the funeral will be held on December 28 in Pyongyang,” Fujimura said.
“We need to watch risks related to the succession.”
Kim died of a heart attack on Saturday while on a train trip, state media reported on Monday, sparking immediate concern over who is in control of the reclusive state and its nuclear programme.
Japan’s ties with North Korea, with which it has no diplomatic relations, have long been fraught due to Pyongyang’s bitterness over Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula, worries about North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes, and Japanese anger over the abduction of its citizens by North Korean agents decades ago.