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Japan on alert for unexpected developments after Kim''s death

TOKYO, Dec 19 (KUNA) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday instructed government officials to make preparations for any unexpected circumstances following news of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the top government spokesman said.
Noda also called for stepping up efforts to gather information and keep in close touch with the US, China, South Korea, and other countries, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference after an emergency national security meeting over the issue.
Earlier in the day, North Korea's state media said Kim died of a heart attack on Saturday during a train trip. He was 69.
"We hope Kim's death has no negative impact on peace and security on the Korean Peninsula," Fujimura said, adding that the government has no information about who will succeed Kim.
Tokyo also set up a crisis-management center at the premier's office.
Separately, Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa said that he urged ministry officials to make utmost efforts to closely monitor developments in North Korea.(end) mk.wsa KUNA 191153 Dec 11NNNN