National

Jenkins sounded out on Japan checkup

The government has sounded out Charles Robert Jenkins, the American husband of repatriated abductee Hitomi Soga, on the possibility of his coming to Japan for a medical checkup, government sources said Tuesday.

The proposal is one of the options Tokyo is pondering in an effort to break the impasse over Jenkins, who is listed as a U.S. Army deserter and fears extradition for court-martial if he comes to Japan.

Although a senior Foreign Ministry official rejected media reports that Jenkins will come to Japan on Thursday, he did not comment on whether there will be developments in the matter later this week.

The official added that there are no provisions in the Japan-U.S. extradition treaty or the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement for giving special treatment to suspects with health problems.

Another ministry official said, meanwhile, that it is unlikely Washington will force Japan to hand over a person who is in poor health.

Another option being considered by Japan is for U.S. officials to question Jenkins in Jakarta, where he has been staying with Soga and their two daughters since Friday.

“If his health condition is poor or if he is expressing remorse, there is a possibility that the U.S. will suspend his indictment,” a senior government official said.

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