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North Korean leader's wife 'charming', says sushi chef

The chef, who is believed to have worked for Kim Jong-Il before his death, is one of the few people to publicly speak out about meeting Kim Jong Un and his new wife.

Kim Jong Un with his wife
Kim Jong Un with his wife
Image: AP Photo / KRT TV

A JAPANESE SUSHI chef who served the late Kim Jong-Il and his family for 13 years said he recently met the new North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and his wife, whom he described as “pretty and charming”.

Kenji Fujimoto, who has become a rare inside source on North Korean affairs, was speaking in Beijing on Saturday after his first visit to the secretive communist state in 11 years.

Fujimoto, who has often talked about risks to his personal safety because of his knowledge of the Kim family, said he had been invited to Pyongyang by Jong-Un, who took power after his father’s death in December last year.

Fujimoto said Jong-Un, believed to be in his late 20s, promised to welcome him “whenever you come to our country”, according to the Kyodo news agency. He also met Ri Sol-Ju, who was only recently revealed to be Jong-Un’s wife.

During the two-week trip the Japanese added that he was reunited with his North Korean wife and their daughter. “(The family) had been waiting for me for 11 years. I’m such a happy man,” he said.

Fujimoto, believed to be 65 years old, allegedly became a special chef for Kim Jong-Il in 1989 after serving him sushi on an earlier trip to Pyongyang.

He settled back in Japan in 2001 after leaving the North Korean capital on a mission to buy sushi materials for the late Kim and has since written four books about the Kim family’s reclusive life.

Fujimoto correctly predicted that Jong-Un would eventually take power.

- © AFP, 2012

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