There is growing concern over the well-being of the former chef to North Korea’s ruling dynasty, with reports suggesting that the Japanese citizen disappeared in the hermit kingdom as long ago as February.
Japan’s Daily Shincho news magazine reported this week that Kenji Fujimoto had been arrested, an announcement that coincides with the disappearance of Alek Sigley, the Australian founder of a travel company that operates tours to North Korea.
Australian authorities have issued a statement saying that they are looking “for clarification” on the fate of Mr Sigley.
Japanese officials have been less forthcoming about the whereabouts of Mr Fujimoto, who served for 13 years as the personal sushi chef to Kim Jong-il, the former dictator, and as a playmate to Kim Jong-un when he was a child.
“We are collecting and analysing information on the circumstances surrounding North Korea but, due to the nature of this matter, it is not appropriate to disclose information on specific cases”, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The Daily Telegraph.