SEOUL (AFP) - A year before North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came to power, a directive was issued for anyone sharing his name to change it - maintaining a tradition upheld by the reclusive state's ruling Kim dynasty, a report said.
An internal state document obtained by South Korea's KBS TV station contains an "administrative order" from then leader Kim Jong Il for all party, army and police officials to ensure the directive was carried out.
The order was issued in January, 2011, shortly after Mr Kim Jong Un had been effectively anointed as his father's successor. Mr Kim Jong Il died in December of the same year.
"All party organs and public security authorities should make a list of residents named Kim Jong Un... and train them to voluntarily change their names," said the document, extracts of which were aired by KBS on Tuesday. The process involved revising names on official documents, including social security cards and school diplomas.
Officials were also directed to reject birth certificates for any newborns named Kim Jong Un.
"The authorities should make sure that there is no one making unnecessary complaints or spreading gossip... regarding this project," it added.
The authenticity of the official directive could not be independently verified, and Seoul's Unification Ministry declined to comment on whether it was genuine.
But one government official noted that the Pyongyang regime was known to have banned citizens sharing the names of founding president Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il.
"Given the North maintained the policy under the two previous leaders, there is a possibility that it would continue to do so now," the official told AFP.
The Kim dynasty has ruled North Korea for more than six decades with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult.
Ms Park Jin Hee, a North Korean defector working for KBS who obtained the document, said she was sure the 2011 directive had been effectively enforced.
"There is no one in the North named Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and there is no doubt the same rule applies for Jong Un," Ms Park, who defected in 2008, told AFP.