>> An American defector who spent almost four decades inside North Korea has died, ending one of the Cold War's strangest dramas. Charles Jenkins passed away, aged 77, in Japan where he lived with his Japanese wife, according to an official in their small town. But his story began in 1965, then he was a 24-year-old US Army Sergeant who never finished high school.
He was stationed in South Korea when he disappeared one night while taking his unit on patrol near the demilitarized zone. He'd later claim he was heavily intoxicated and crossed the border because he wanted to avoid fighting in Vietnam, intending to go to Russia, though he quickly regretted it.
Instead, he became stuck in the Hermit Kingdom undergoing torture and teaching English to North Korean soldiers. He also portrayed an evil American spy in a propaganda film. That's where Jenkins met his wife, 20 years his junior. She was a kidnapped victim, forced to train Pyongyang's spies. They had two daughters.
Eventually they were allowed to leave for Japan. He was court marshaled in 2004, but only served a 30 day sentence. He claimed fear for his family's safety kept him from attempting escape sooner.>> And I didn't go, because they knew I couldn't escape. Who would escape and leave my wife and daughter, Never.
>> After coming to Japan, Jenkins worked in a gift shop and wrote a book about his time in North Korea.