The absence of the North Korean president from Tuesday's parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Communist nation has revived questions about Kim Jong Il's health.
A U.S. intelligence official told CNN that Kim has been suffering from serious health problems, and may have had a stroke.
There have been reports that Kim suffers from heart disease and diabetes but he has denied these.
Filling in for him at the parade was the second-in-command of The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Yong Nam, said Naoko Aoki of Japan's Kyodo news agency, who reported from the event.
Kim was also absent from events on the eve of the anniversary, including a meeting of government officials, Aoki said.