The late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son Jong-nam, who was passed over for the leadership of the isolated country, has once again attacked the hereditary power succession, the Tokyo Shimbun reported Thursday.
"I expect the existing ruling elite to follow in the footsteps of my father while keeping the young successor as a symbolic figure," he was quoted as saying in an e-mail he sent the daily on Jan. 3.
"It's difficult to accept a third-generation succession with normal reasoning," he added. He also said he doubted that a young successor "with some two years of training can retain the absolute power" his father held for 37 years.
Kim Jong-nam, who lives in Macau, has not been seen in public since his father's death. Whether he attended his father's funeral is not known, and he did not mention it in the e-mail, the paper said.
In an interview with the Tokyo Shimbun in January last year, Kim had also criticized his younger brother's succession.
Declining a request for an e-mail interview on Dec. 19 last year, right after his father's death, Kim said there was a possibility of threats to his safety, according to the daily.