Accused U.S. deserter Jenkins to report soon to Camp Zama

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Accused U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins said Wednesday he intends to report “very shortly” on a voluntary basis to the army’s Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture, where he is expected to face a court-martial.

“It is my intention, upon leaving the Tokyo Women’s Medical University Hospital, to voluntarily report to Camp Zama to begin the process that will bring closure to my pending legal situation,” Jenkins said in a statement released through the Cabinet Office.

Jenkins said his Japanese wife, repatriated abductee Hitomi Soga, and their two North Korean-born daughters will accompany him because the court-martial process will directly affect his family.

Jenkins has consulted with Capt. James Culp, an independent military counsel, since last month on procedures for a plea bargain and other legal issues he is expected to face. Culp will also accompany Jenkins to the base. The key point is whether Jenkins and the U.S. Army can agree to a plea bargain that will not include a prison term, so he can live with his family in Japan.

Jenkins is expected to seek a dishonorable discharge in return for providing information on U.S. and South Korean soldiers held in North Korea, according to government sources.

A U.S. military officer said earlier that the court-martial would probably be completed “within a month or two.”

In the statement, Jenkins did not give a specific timetable for his surrender, but noted that he hoped to be healthy enough “very shortly” to leave the hospital and go to Camp Zama. Jenkins said he had intended to report to the U.S. base when he came to Japan on July 18 from Jakarta, but that he could not do so due to his illness.

“When I stepped onto the plane that carried my family and me from Indonesia to Japan, it was my full intention to voluntarily report to the U.S. Army base in Japan to face the allegations that have been charged against me,” he said.