• Kyodo


Repatriated abductee Hitomi Soga visited her ancestors’ graves Tuesday at a Buddhist temple in her hometown on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, with her North Korean-born daughters and other relatives.

Soga, 45, took her daughters, Mika, 21, and Belinda, 19, to the temple after stopping by her father’s home in the morning.

A priest showed the daughters the grave of Soga’s grandmother, and Soga translated what the priest said into Korean for her daughters. Mika and Belinda then placed flowers and incense on the grave and prayed after they watched Soga do so.

The three arrived on the island Monday from Tokyo to see Soga’s father, Shigeru, 72, who has been hospitalized because of poor health.

Soga’s husband and the girls’ father, accused U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins, 64, remains in a Tokyo hospital.

The family has been living in Tokyo since arriving in Japan from Indonesia on July 18. They were reunited July 9 in Jakarta for the first time since Soga was allowed by Pyongyang to return to Japan in October 2002.

Jenkins met with a U.S. military lawyer earlier this month and reportedly expressed his intention to seek a plea bargain. The U.S. government has accused him of desertion, aiding the enemy, encouraging disloyalty and soliciting other personnel to desert.

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