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Former US army soldier who defected to North Korea and wed abductee dies aged 77

Charles Jenkins, a US army deserter to North Korea who married a Japanese abductee and lived in Japan after their release, has died aged 77.

A group representing families of Japanese abductees to North Korea said on Tuesday that Mr Jenkins died the day before.

Mr Jenkins, of Rich Square, North Carolina, was found collapsed outside his home in Sado, northern Japan, rushed to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

The cause of his death has not been released.

Mr Jenkins disappeared in January 1965 while patrolling along the Demilitarised Zone dividing North and South Korea.

He travelled to Japan in 2004 to be with his wife Hitomi Soga, who was kidnapped and taken to North Korea in 1978 but allowed to visit home in 2002 and stayed.

The two met in North Korea and had two daughters.

AP

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