Ambassador Baker Meets Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Over Jenkins Case

Statement by U.S. Ambassador Howard H. Baker, Jr.
on Sergeant Charles Jenkins
July 17, 2004

The Japanese government has told us it plans to bring Sergeant Jenkins and his family from Indonesia to Japan on Sunday. We were told that once Sergeant Jenkins arrives, he will be hospitalized and receive medical treatment.

Today, I and members of my staff and representatives of U.S. Forces Japan and the U.S. Army Japan met with Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and members of her staff to discuss the Jenkins issue. I explained to the Foreign Minister that Sergeant Jenkins has been charged with desertion and other serious offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and that he is still on active duty as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. I further told the Foreign Minster that once Sergeant Jenkins is in Japan, he is subject to the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement and falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Military. The U.S. Government has the right to request custody of Sergeant Jenkins and will do so at the appropriate time.

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi told me that Sergeant Jenkins' medical condition is serious and asked that the United States consider the humanitarian aspects of this case. I acknowledged to Foreign Minister Kawaguchi that the U.S. government is sympathetic to his health condition and that Sergeant Jenkins' medical condition may delay our request for his transfer to U.S. custody. I would refer you to the Japanese government for information on Sergeant Jenkins' condition.

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and I agreed to work closely together on this issue. There are no plans for U.S. officials to see Jenkins in the immediate future.