Accused U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins met a U.S. military lawyer from South Korea for the second day Friday in Tokyo, government sources said, offering no details on how the talks progressed.
While the government has released little information about the meetings held Thursday and Friday between Jenkins, husband of repatriated Pyongyang abductee Hitomi Soga, and the independent defense lawyer, Capt. James Culp, at a Tokyo hospital, Culp is believed to be discussing whether Jenkins will seek a plea bargain, which could involve dropping or reducing the charges against him.
A Japanese government source said Friday that the only option Jenkins has is to seek a plea bargain and that he is aware of it.
A senior U.S. official has said the United States hopes to obtain information on other U.S. soldiers missing in North Korea.
The Japanese government believes the United States may agree to a plea bargain in exchange for such information, the Japanese sources said.
A source familiar with Japan-U.S. relations also said Jenkins has suggested in his meetings with Japanese government officials that he has top-secret information, such as the existence of a facility in North Korea that contains South Korean prisoners of war.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Friday that Japan hopes for a quick resolution to the issue involving Jenkins, alluding to a plea bargain.
The government sources said that regardless of whether Jenkins is court-martialed, a final decision on him will be made in about a month.
Jenkins, still listed as a U.S. Army sergeant, has been hospitalized in Tokyo since arriving from North Korea via Jakarta on July 18. He is charged with desertion, aiding the enemy, encouraging disloyalty and soliciting other personnel to desert.
The United States says Jenkins crossed the border into North Korea in 1965 while patrolling near the Demilitarized Zone.