The total number of public activities in which Kim Jong Il had taken part this year as of mid-December was 156, almost twice the number in the same period last year.
When Kim has gone to conduct on-site inspections, he has most frequently been escorted by Chosun (North Korea) Workers' Party's Central Committee Secretary Kim Ki Nam (107 times) or Jang Sung Taek, First vice Director of the Guidance Department of the Central Committee.
Based upon an analysis of the North Korean TV and print media, Kim’s public activities as of the 18th included 64 appearances in the economic sphere, 43 in military affairs, 13 in the overseas sphere and 36 miscellaneous.
Statistically, Kim's efforts in 2008 could be broken down as 55% in military affairs (50 visits or appearances) and 26% in the economic sphere (24), but this year the latter substantially exceeded the former, 41% compared to 27%.
Such statistics are likely to be related to the fact that North Korea, in line with its stated aim of constructing a strong and prosperous state by 2012, has embarked upon back-to-back mass mobilization campaigns (the 150-Day and 100-Day Battles) as a (mostly unsuccessful) means of increasing productivity.
North Korea has begun or completed large projects such as the construction of the Heecheon Thermal Powerplant and several tens of thousands of residential homes and public buildings this year.
Broken down by month, Kim has regularly logged 10~19 inspections per month, with the exception of just 8 in July and again in December (as of the 17th).
As noted above, Kim was most frequently accompanied by Workers’ Party Secretary Kim Ki Nam (107 visits), then Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law Jang Sung Taek (82), Director of Central Committee Park Nam Ki (76), Vice Director of the General Political Department of the People's Army Hyun Cheol Hae (56), Administrative Director of the National Defense Commission Lee Myung Su (48) and the Director of the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces Kim Young Chun (30).
Among his public activities, what generated particular interest among experts was Kim’s first known visit to the People's Safety Agency's headquarters in November. Additionally, after the Daecheon Naval Battle of November 10th, Kim reportedly visited the Nampo Headquarters of the Combined Naval Forces No. 587, which is known as the West Sea Squadron Headquarters. He also generated significant interest when he made his first visit to Rason, a special economic zone in North Hamkyung Province, and toured the Marine Product Synthesized Production Factory, part of the Rason Daeheung Trading Company.