Charles Jenkins, who spent nearly 40 years in North Korea after deserting his U.S. Army unit in 1965, has been issued a U.S. passport, the embassy in Tokyo said Tuesday.
Jenkins, who served 25 days in a U.S. military brig last year after his court-martial, is believed to be planning a trip to the United States to visit his ailing mother.
Jenkins, 65 and frail, has said he has no plans to return permanently to the United States but would like to visit his home in North Carolina with his family.
His wife, Hitomi Soga, was kidnapped by North Korean agents when she was a 19-year-old student and taken to the reclusive state in 1978.
She married Jenkins soon afterward but was only allowed to return to Japan in 2002 when North Korea reversed years of denial and admitted it had kidnapped 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s. Jenkins and their daughters left North Korea and joined Soga last July.
Earlier this year, he told reporters he wants to see his 91-year-old mother as soon as possible. She lives in a nursing home in Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
Attention Saru and Adam- North Carolina isn’t all that far from DC. Think you can manage to track down Jenkins for an interview when he comes to visit? I can’t wait to read the long version of this guy’s autobiography.