Tokyo — Fear of the coronavirus outbreak spreading into North Korea may be accelerating Kim Jong-un’s efforts to play down the legacy of his father and strengthen his own cult of personality.

Festivities to mark the anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s birth on Sunday — the Day of the Shining Star — were noticeably more subdued than past years, with thinner crowds and fewer visiting dignitaries. While much of that presumably stems from strict outbreak control measures, the toned-down affair was consistent with the younger Kim’s push to move out from under his predecessor’s shadow and secure greater international legitimacy for the family dynasty...

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