National

Jenkins does not need emergency surgery after all

Accused U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins does not have cancer, the government said Tuesday ahead of the arrival of a U.S. military lawyer from South Korea who will advise him.

The Tokyo hospital treating the 64-year-old said he does not need to undergo any surgery but must stay in the hospital for “physical and mental rehabilitation.” Jenkins is married to repatriated abductee Hitomi Soga.

“It was diagnosed that he has no such disease as cancer,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said.

Jenkins was reportedly told in North Korea when he underwent prostate surgery in April that he could have cancer. Examinations at Tokyo Women’s Medical University Hospital have removed such worries, Hosoda said.

Earlier in the day, government sources said Jenkins, whom the U.S. military has charged with desertion and three other counts, has accepted the Japanese government’s advice to meet with a U.S. military defense counsel, but a date for the meeting has not yet been set.

A military lawyer based in South Korea will arrive in Japan by the end of this week, and is expected to explain to Jenkins the process of a probable court-martial and the prospect of a possible plea bargain to reduce his punishment, the sources said.

In bringing the American to Japan on a government-chartered plane July 18 from Jakarta, Tokyo had claimed the transfer was an “emergency, humanitarian measure” prompted by the possibility his condition was serious and that he required another operation.

But the hospital said Jenkins has no physical problems that require surgery or any other emergency treatment. It said he nevertheless needs to stay in the hospital due to concerns over the effects of recent severe stress.

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