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The government will grant permanent residency status to U.S. citizen Charles Jenkins, the husband of repatriated Japanese abductee Hitomi Soga, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said Friday.

Jenkins, a former U.S. Army sergeant who deserted to North Korea, married Soga there and lived in the country almost 40 years. He came to Japan with the couple’s two North Korea-born daughters in July 2004 after being reunited with Soga in Jakarta.

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