2014年07月09日

NK Newsへの最新の拙稿です。Who is So Tae Ha, head of the Japanese abductions investigation?

この写真の添付の写真の中に、2002年の日朝首脳会談で田中均・外務省アジア大洋州局長(当時)の交渉役を務めた「ミスターX」として知られる柳敬氏がいます。また、「ノースコリア・リーダーシップ・ウォッチ」運営者のマイケル・マッデン氏は、この写真の中に、北朝鮮の特別調査委員長に就いたソ・テハ氏もいるはず、と言っています。

ソ氏に1995年に平壌の木蘭館でのパーティーであったという藤本健二氏は私の取材に対し、ソ氏の印象について 「目力があった」「通訳が『彼はやり手だよ。将来、偉くなるよ』と言っていた」と話しました。


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Former DPRK leader, the late Kim Jong Il, takes part in a tour in May 2009 with Jang Song Taek, Kim Ki Nam, Ri Jae Il, MSS Senior (1st) Vice Minister Gen. U Tong Chuk and former MSS Vice Minister Ryu Kyong. KCNA

Who is So Tae Ha, head of the Japanese abductions investigation?

Vice minister’s actual role remains unclear, but may be close confidant to Kim Jong Un

July 7th, 2014

Kosuke Takahashi

North Korea announced on Friday that it launched “the special investigation committee” to look into the fate of Japanese abductees and other missing people in the North decades ago.

Masked in mystery, one man became the immediate focus of the Japanese intelligence community. That is So Tae Ha, chairman of the special investigation committee. Experts are now trying to figure out his true identity.

So’s official titles, announced by Pyongyang, are counselor for security at the National Defense Commission (NDC) and vice-minister of the Ministry of State Security (MSS).

The NDC is North Korea’s highest authority and supreme decision-making body. Currently, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is first chairman of the NDC.

The MSS, on the other hand, is a secret police force, or Pyongyang’s equivalent of the KGB. Kim is believed to have the MSS under his direct rule, just as his father Kim Jong Il did by concurrently serving as the head of the MSS for a long time. The MSS is believed to know the whereabouts of all of Japanese abductees as well as the Japanese wives who went to North Korea with their Korean husbands decades ago.


‘The committee’s members are very substantial members of the country’s national security community, despite having what would seem to outside observers very mid-level jobs’

In 2004 when Pyongyang conducted a reinvestigation into Japanese abductees such as Megumi Yokota, who was kidnapped by North Korean agents in 1977 at the age of 13, the investigation committee was led by the Ministry of People’s Security (MPS), a police organ, but not by the NDC or the MSS. For this reason, North Korea has claimed there were limits on its ability to conduct a thorough investigation into the abductions, which had involved North Korea’s special agencies.

Lee Young-hwa, economics professor at Kansai University in Osaka, told NK News on Monday that several organizations in the Workers’ Party of Korea, such as the Operations Department in charge of espionage operations against South Korea, had actually carried out the kidnappings of Japanese.

This time, Pyongyang said the special investigations committee was invested with a “special mandate” by the NDC to “investigate all institutions and mobilize relevant institutions and persons concerned for the investigation any time necessary.”

Pyongyang also said the committee will be staffed with about 30 officials from relevant institutions including the MSS, the MPS, the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces and so on, supported by MSS Councilor Kim Myong Chol and MPS Department Director Pak Yong Sik.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last Thursday that the involvement of North Korea’s national decision-making bodies like the NDC and the MSS in an investigation into Japanese abductees was a decisive factor in his decision to lift some sanctions on Pyongyang.

“The committee’s members are very substantial members of the country’s national security community, despite having what would seem to outside observers very mid-level jobs,” said Michael Madden, who operates North Korea Leadership Watch. “Based on some conversations I’ve had with someone tied to the committee’s establishment they will have a lot of power but there is not a very clear idea whether what they turn up will satisfy the Prime Minister Abe.”

Madden said So is a lieutenant general from the Korean People’s Army (KPA) and that he was one of the officials who replaced Ryu Kyong, who had been dismissed as vice minister of the MSS and executed in 2011. Ryu had been well-known as “Mr. X” in Japan, acting as negotiator with then-chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Hitoshi Tanaka at the 2002 Japan-North Korea summit, where then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Kim Jong Il first met in Pyongyang.


A MANUFACTURED TITLE?

Although all vice ministers and vice directors have a specific portfolio such as organization, liaison or inspections, So’s current portfolio is still unclear.

Madden even said that So may not formally be a vice minister, and that it may be just a job title used externally in the media or during diplomatic exchanges, not reflecting his real position. Like other State Security personnel he has a KPA military rank, but he doesn’t sit in the chain of command of the KPA General Staff or Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, Madden said.

At a press conference last Thursday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said that So’s title as counselor for security at the NDC was “created out of necessity in order to name him as chairman of the Special Investigative Committee.” He said “(So) will be in charge of the country’s security issues at a vice minister level.”

Madden also pointed out that So is one of approximately eight NDC councilors, which is a powerful position usually held concurrent with another job. He is most likely part of a group of senior officials who are members of what are sometimes called sangmujo, which First Secretary Kim Jong Un inherited from his father Secretary General Kim Jong Il.


AN AUSPICIOUS START

‘(So) had penetrating eyes. He had power in his eyes’

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Kenji Fujimoto: Kosuke Takahashi

Among Japanese citizens, there is one man who has actually met So Tae Ha. It is Kenji Fujimoto, who worked as Kim Jong Il’s personal sushi chef and was Kim Jong Un’s childhood friend. On Sunday Fujimoto told NK News he met So in 1995 at Mokrangwan, a guest house in the center of Pyongyang.

Two hours into the party, attended by several dozen party executives, Kim Jong Il ordered the head of the secretarial office to bring in other senior party members immediately.

“It was past nine o’clock,” he said. “There or four people came to the party. Among them was So Tae Ha.”

Fujimoto said his translator had identified So for him.

“The translator said, ‘He is from the secret police and he is quite a go-getter or hotshot. He will succeed in the future for sure,’” Fujimoto said.

“He was around 50 at that time. He had penetrating eyes. He had power in his eyes.”

Fujimoto spent 1989 to 2001 as Kim Jong Il’s sushi chef, and was abruptly invited back to the North in 2012, not long after his former boss’ death and Kim Jong Un’s ascension to supreme leader of North Korea. Fujimoto believes So is “definitely” Kim Jong Un’s closest confidant now.

“I now suspect So advised him to issue the NDC’s invitation letter for me in 2012, when I first hesitated to go to Pyongyang despite Mr. Kim Jong Un’s invitation,” he said.



posted by Kosuke at 01:19| Comment(14) | NK News

2014年03月06日

北朝鮮No.2崔竜海の粛清観測で、今、注目を浴びる11月末の金正恩「三池淵革命戦跡地」訪問の同行メンバー

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北朝鮮のナンバー2の崔竜海(チェ・リョンヘ)軍総政治局長の粛清観測についてNK Newsに記事を書いた。

Was Kim’s aide Choe destined to follow Jang?
Choe Ryong Hae still missing, apparently excluded from leader’s new inner circle


金正恩と新たな側近グループ8人が昨年11月30日、金日成の抗日闘争が遂行されて「革命の戦地」となっている三池淵革命戦跡地を訪れた。

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金正恩は白頭山山ろくのこの場で、叔父の張成沢氏粛清の重大決断したと言われている。そして、その重大決定をした場に既に崔竜海の姿はなかった。。。この時から崔竜海が「外されていた」可能性がある。

この金正恩の「革命の戦地」三池淵革命戦跡地訪問に同行したのは金元弘・国家安全保衛部長、金養建・党統一戦線部長、韓光相・党第1副部長、朴泰成・党組織指導部副部長、黄炳瑞・党組織指導部副部長、金炳鎬・党宣伝扇動部副部長、ホン・ヨンチル・党機械工業部副部長、馬園春・党副部長の8人。金正恩の重大決断の場にいた彼ら8人が新たな金正恩のコア(中核)グループになっている可能性がある。

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また、張成沢の粛清を決めた12月8日の党政治局拡大会議で金正恩とともに檀上に座っていた15人、つまり、(写真前列)朴道春、金己男、朴奉珠、金永南、金正恩、崔竜海、金元弘、崔泰福、金養建(写真後列)趙然俊、郭範基、金永日、金平海、文景徳、金京玉の15人のうち、金正恩と崔竜海を除く13人も、金正恩の側近グループになっているとみられる。

つまり、11月30日の三池淵革命戦跡地訪問に同行した8人と、12月8日の党政治局拡大会議出席の11人(三池淵革命戦跡地も訪問したダブりの金元弘と金養建を除く)を合わせた19人が金正恩の側近グループで、来年10月の朝鮮労働党創建70周年まで、当面、金正恩を支えていくコアグループになっていくとみられる。また、来年10月には1980年以来、35年ぶりに朝鮮労働党の党大会(第7回)を開くものと予想される。
posted by Kosuke at 02:12| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | NK News

2014年02月23日

横田めぐみさんのご両親にインタビューしました

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1977年11月15日のあの日、新潟市立中学校の一年生だった横田めぐみさん(当時13歳)は帰宅途中にたまたま道端で北朝鮮の工作員と遭遇し、拉致された。あの日の出来事がなければ、日銀のエリート職員でもあったご両親の滋さん(81)と早紀江さん(78)は幸せな家庭生活を過ごせただろうに。。。

国連の対北朝鮮報告書を受け、横田さんご夫妻に単独インタビューをし、NK Newsに記事が載りました。海外メディアが日本の拉致問題についてそれほど関心を寄せていない中、NK Newsが横田めぐみさんのご両親のインタビュー記事の掲載を決断してくれたことに心より感謝しています。

Megumi Yokota’s parents urge North Korea to settle abduction issue

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国連の報告書の中では、昨年8月に東京で開催された、北朝鮮の人権に関する国連調査委員会の公聴会での母親の早紀江さんの発言が紹介されています。

「初めて成長した(めぐみの)写真を見た(とき)涙が出ました。(拉致以来)初めて、写真で娘を見たのです。本当に悲しかった。それまでの20年間、あらゆる所を探しました。そして、今、平壌にいるのです。とても胸が苦しかったです。やっと娘を見つけたのに、まだ助けることができずにいます。娘にごめんなさいと言いました。そして、まだ彼女を助けてあげられずにいることに対し、涙を流しました。」

Yokota Sakie, whose anguish over her daughter’s disappearance drove her to convert to Christianity in the late-’70s, testified before a UN special commission on the abduction issue at the Tokyo Public Hearing in August 2013:

“(When) I saw the photos for the first time (of Megumi as a) grownup…we wept so much. …We had looked for her everywhere for the previous 20 years, and now she is in Pyongyang, and we felt so bad. I finally discovered her, and still we cannot save her, and we said sorry…I wept so much that we still could not help her.”

金正恩氏よ、横田さんご夫妻のメッセージをしっかりと受け止め、拉致問題を一刻も早く解決してくれ!


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posted by Kosuke at 18:38| Comment(0) | NK News