Hitomi Soga-Jenkins, her husband and their children. Soga was abducted to North Korea in 1978, she was “given” to and later married Jenkins, a US defector. The family were repatriated to Japan in 2004.
Japan wants information on the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ‘80s. Japan believes at least one abductee may still be alive and in the North, though North Korea denies this.
The Japanese government officially recognizes 17 citizens as having been abducted by the North Korean regime, of which only five have been returned. However, campaigners allege that there are potentially hundreds of other victims, including many non-Japanese citizens.
In his excellent and gripping autobiography (written with Jim Frederick), The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial, and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea, Charles Robert Jenkins, an American soldier who defected to North Korea in 1965, provides an account of how his wife, Hitomi Soga, a Japanese abductee, was eventually repatriated along with himself and their children. Soga and Jenkins continue to campaign for the release of other abductees, including Soga’s mother.