[imText1]On January 31, an exclusive interview with Soga Hitomi and her husband Charles Jenkins was published in Yomiuri, a Japanese newspaper.
“I believe Kim Jong Il is an evil person. He is exploiting and oppressing the (North Korean) people,” Jenkins answered the reporters who asked him what he thought. He added that when he met with his wife in Indonesia last year, the North Korean government demanded him to return to North Korea with his wife.
Jenkins greeted and presented himself in Japanese at the beginning of the interview. Then he read out his memo written in English. “I would like to thank everyone who helped (us). The first fifteen years in North Korea was very hard for me but my life changed after I met my wife,” said Jenkins as he explained his life in North Korea. “I believed that if I behaved right I would be able to meet my family in Japan,” he said as he reminisced on his meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi last year in North Korea.
As an answer to the question about Japanese abductees in North Korea such as Soga Hitomi, he evaded the question by saying, “I lived separated from others. I disclosed everything I knew to the government of Japan.”
He also expressed his longing for his families in the United States. “My mother is 91 years old. I have to meet her as soon as possible.” About his autobiography, he said, “I did not decide on the publisher yet. It will be decided soon.”
Jenkins was an American soldier stationed in South Korea, Compound 8, but crossed the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea for fear of being sent to the Vietnam during the war, in January 5, 1965. However, he lived in misery ever since. With three other American soldiers who defected to North Korea, he survived torture and hunger and was obliged to study about Kim Il Sung ten hours per day. He was expelled from Pyongyang for secretly listening to BBC broadcasts by changing the fixed radio stations, and got into trouble by requesting defection to the Soviet Embassy in Pyongyang. One time, a North Korean doctor cut out his skin on his shoulder where he had a tattoo that read, “U.S. Army” without anesthesia. In 1980, He married his wife Soga who was an abductee from Japan, kidnapped by North Korean spies. They gave birth to two daughters, Mika(22) and Brinda(20).
The extraordinary life which this couple led was known to the world when Kim Jong Il admitted to the abduction of Japanese citizens, 5 alive, 8 dead, and 2 unverified to prime minister Koizumi, when he visited North Korea on September 17, 2002. In the same year, Soga was able to return to Japan with four other Japanese survivors but Jenkins and the two daughters remained in North Korea.
On July 9, 2004, Jenkins was able to meet with Soga under the purpose of “family reunion” in Jakarta, Indonesia and came to Japan under the guise of “medical treatment.” After that, he went through the process of interment in a hospital, inspection by American military, military trial for escaping from military, penal servitude and release.
However, Jenkins’ suffering is yet to be over. This is because the whereabouts of Soga’s mother, who was abducted with Soga, is still in question. Jenkins’ family is known to be living in Sawatari, Japan since last December.