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Alleged U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins is willing to appear voluntarily before the U.S. military in Japan for a plea bargain, according to informed sources.

The sources said Jenkins, whose wife is repatriated abductee Hitomi Soga, has informed Japanese officials of his intent to appear before the U.S. Army headquarters in Japan at Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Jenkins expressed the intent to seek a plea bargain after completing talks last week with a U.S. military lawyer, according to a source close to the case.

Jenkins held talks with the independent defense lawyer, Capt. James Culp, at a Tokyo hotel for four days earlier this month.

Jenkins, a U.S. Army sergeant who has been hospitalized in Tokyo since arriving from North Korea via Jakarta on July 18, is charged with desertion, aiding the enemy, encouraging disloyalty and soliciting other personnel to desert.

Sources said Jenkins may admit to part of his charges to reduce or avoid punishment.

The informed sources said doctors and other staff from the U.S. military in Japan visited his hospital Thursday to consult with doctors about his condition.

A Japanese government source said, “The U.S. military will present a policy this month.”

Jenkins was briefed by Culp on procedures for a plea bargain, the informed sources said, adding the two have been in close contact over the phone.

The U.S. Army says Jenkins crossed the border between North and South Korea in 1965 while serving near the Demilitarized Zone. But his relatives in the United States reject this allegation, saying he was abducted by North Korea.

Jenkins, Soga and their North Korea-born daughters came to Japan after being reunited on July 9 in Jakarta for the first time since Soga was repatriated in October 2002.

The couple married in North Korea in 1980, two years after Soga was abducted by the North.

Hasuike kids dedicated

KASHIWAZAKI, Niigata Pref. (Kyodo) Former abductee Kaoru Hasuike said Saturday his son and daughter, who came to Japan from North Korea three months ago, are dedicated to learning Japanese.

Hasuike, 46, told reporters that his daughter, Shigeyo, 22, and his son, Katsuya, 19, are putting great effort into studying the language.

The two children came to Japan on May 22 following the summit between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang.

Hasuike said he expects that his children will live in Japan permanently but indicated he will wait and see.

On other Japanese abductees whose fates remain unknown, Hasuike said he has told their families and the Japanese government all he knows and that he is always willing to cooperate with police if they seek further information.

But he is reluctant to make such information public, saying, “The disclosure will not have positive impacts on ongoing bilateral talks between Japan and North Korea on the abductions.”

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