|Born||May 17, 1959|
Sado, Niigata, Japan
|Disappeared||August 12, 1978 (age 19)|
|Other names||Min Hye-gyeong|
|Known for||Kidnapping victim|
(m. 1980; died 2017)
Hitomi Soga-Jenkins (Japanese: 曽我ひとみ Soga Hitomi, born May 17, 1959) is a Japanese woman who was abducted to North Korea together with her mother, Miyoshi Soga, from Sado Island, Japan, in 1978. In 1980, she married Charles Robert Jenkins, an American defector to North Korea, with whom she had two daughters. In 2002, she was allowed to return to Japan, followed two years later by her husband and children.
Abduction and life in North Korea
Soga, a nurse, was returning home from shopping with her mother Miyoshi, 46, when they were abducted from her hometown of Mano-cho, now part of the city of Sado, Niigata, on August 12, 1978, and taken to North Korea to train agents in Japanese customs and language. Her mother, Miyoshi, was later separated from her and has not been heard from since. The North Koreans gave Soga the Korean name Min Hye-gyeong (Korean: 민혜경). She met Jenkins in early July 1980, when he was asked to teach her English, and they married on August 8, 1980. They had two daughters, Mika and Brinda.
Soga was one of a group of five Japanese abductees whom North Korea allowed to visit their homeland in September 2002. Though the trip was intended to be brief, she, like her four companions, never returned to North Korea. She and many Japanese called on North Korea to release family members who had been left behind. On July 9, 2004, Soga was reunited with her husband and two daughters in Jakarta, Indonesia, which had been chosen as a neutral venue to allay fears that Jenkins would be arrested. The family came to Japan on July 18, 2004.
Jenkins was court-martialed and incarcerated for "desertion" at a U.S. military installation in Japan for 26 days then released. According to media reports, the family settled in Soga's hometown of Mano, on Sado Island.
- Anocha Panjoi – Thai woman kidnapped by North Korea
- List of kidnappings – Crime list
- North Korean abductions of Japanese – 1977–1983 kidnapping cases
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A former US sergeant who defected to North Korea and became Pyongyang's prisoner for nearly 40 years has died.
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