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A book by Japan's Professor Toshimitsu Shigemura at Japan's respected Waseda University says Kim died in the autumn of 2003 and a series of stand-ins have since taken his place at official state event.
Prof Shigemura says Kim was not seen in public for the 42 days after September 10, 2003, and in his book "The True Character of Kim Jong Il" claims the man that North Koreans refer to as the "Dear Leader" died of diabetes.
Is Kim Jong-il for real? The question has baffled foreign intelligence agencies for years but now a veteran Japanese expert on North Korea says the “dear leader” is actually dead – and his role is played by a double.
The expert says Kim died of diabetes in 2003 and world leaders including Vladimir Putin of Russia and Hu Jintao of China have been negotiating with an impostor.