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Kim Jong Un’s ambition – Part 1: Tyrant or strategist?

Sunday’s “NHK Special” aired the first part of its new series, “Kim Jong Un’s ambition,” which looks into why the young North Korean leader is able to maintain his regime and nuclear and missile development program while the international community is stepping up its economic sanctions against the country. The first part focused on whether Kim is a tyrant or a strategist, reporting on his childhood and personality. The program said since Kim had no time to establish himself as a “divine” leader, he focused on revitalizing the economy. Kim reportedly promoted a capitalism-like principle of market mechanisms among the public and made them work hard and compete with each other so that the nation would not be greatly affected even if sanctions are intensified.


The program also used artificial intelligence to analyze Kim Jong Un’s statements and remarks, saying that it found that Kim uses the word “association” frequently, speculating that he wants the public to belong to associations and work toward shared goals. The program also said Kim uses positive and inspiring words such as “strengthen” and “train” in conjunction with “association” in an attempt to plant a spirit of self-help in the public. The program also said about 30% of Kim’s public remarks have been made during visits to various sites, quoting Keio University Professor Isozaki as saying that unlike past leaders who ruled the country ideologically, Kim probably values practical results and benefits. The program also said Kim is more terrifying than his father, saying that by openly and brutally executing his aides, including those who made minor mistakes, he is preventing others from thinking about revolting against the regime.

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