Charles Jenkins, husband of former Japanese abductee to North Korea Hitomi Soga, died Monday due to an unknown cause, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday. He was 77.
A former U.S. Army sergeant, Jenkins deserted to North Korea in 1965 and married Soga there in 1980. He came to Japan with the couple’s two North Korean-born daughters after being reunited in Jakarta with Soga in July 2004. Soga had returned to Japan with a group of other abductees in 2002.
The couple began living in Sado, a Sea of Japan island city in Nigata Prefecture, from December 2004 with the two daughters, Mika and Brinda.
In an interview with Kyodo News in 2012, Jenkins said he was happy living with his family on Sado Island, from where his wife hails, and appreciated the freedom Japan offers.