Charles Jenkins, American soldier who defected to North Korea, dies at 77

TOKYO — Charles Jenkins, the U.S. Army sergeant who defected to North Korea in 1965 and remained there for almost four decades, has died in Japan at the age of 77.

Jenkins had been living on Sado Island, off Japan’s west coast, with his wife Hitomi Soga, a Japanese citizen who was abducted by North Korea in 1978, since he was freed in 2004.

Japan’s Kyodo News agency and broadcaster NHK both reported his death Tuesday, but the cause was unknown.