Japan is keeping an eye on its neighbor North Korea as news of the execution of Jang Song Thaek, leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle and also considered as the country’s No. 2, came about. Korean Central News Agency that the Jang has been tried and executed after a conflict with his nephew. It also branded him as a traitor who was preparing to grab power from Kim Jong Un.
In a press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “We will calmly monitor the situation while communication with other countries and collect relevant information.” They will also probe the impact this incident will have on the suspended talks between the country and North Korea.
The execution came as a shock as Jang, the husband of Kim Jong Il’s younger sister, acted as a mentor to Kim Jong Un after the death of his father in December 2011. Many analysts have reacted differently to the news, with some saying that a “high-level purge” such as Jang’s is an indication of the growing confidence of the public with Jim Jong Un’s leadership, Victor Cha from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington sees it as a sign that not everything is as smooth as they say with his leadership. The execution of Jang is expected to pave way for more high-level purges within the next few months.