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Kim Jong-Un Profiled in VOA Interview

Rare opportunity provides in-depth information

Washington, D.C., June 10, 2009 – Kim Jong Un, the likely successor to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, looks like his father, plays computers and basketball and rates a Whitney Houston song as a favorite, the family’s former sushi chef said in an interview with VOA's Korean Service.

Kenji Fujimoto, who now lives in Japan, worked for Kim Jong-Il from 1988-2001. Fujimoto served sushi to, sneaked cigarettes to and played basketball with Jong Un from the time he was seven until he was 18. In 2001, Fujimoto manufactured an excuse to visit Japan and didn't return.

"He looked and acted like his father and everybody thought he would be his father's successor," Fujimoto told VOA recently.

Fujimoto also said Jong Un hated to be called "little general" because he doesn't want to be treated as the younger and smaller brother; started smoking and drinking when he became a teenager; liked to give orders and was regarded as having a "take charge" personality. He also enjoyed listening to Houston's “I Will Always Love You,” the theme song from The Bodyguard.

"This interview was a rare opportunity, and we were able to get in-depth information about the family of Kim Jong-Il," said Dong Hyuk Lee, Chief of the VOA Korean Service. Fujimoto has rarely given interviews since Kim Jong-Un was tapped two weeks ago to replace his father.

VOA Korean broadcasts five hours of radio programming daily (8:00-11:00 a.m. and 3:00-5:00 p.m. in Korea). The full interview in Korean, the Service's regular broadcasts, and VOA's English language coverage relating to North Korea are available at and

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

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