updated 7/5/2004 10:37:21 AM ET 2004-07-05T14:37:21

Japan sent officials to Indonesia on Monday to arrange the reunion of a Japanese woman abducted by North Korea but later freed with the American husband and daughters she left behind in the communist country.

Hitomi Soga has been living apart from her family since North Korea allowed her return to Japan in October 2002, nearly a quarter century after Northern agents abducted her to train spies in the Japanese language and culture.

Her husband, Charles Robert Jenkins, and their two daughters have refused to travel to Japan out of fear he might be extradited to the United States to face desertion charges. The former soldier allegedly abandoned his Army unit in 1965 and defected to North Korea.

Last week, Indonesia said it would host a reunion for the family — a proposal Jenkins has accepted, according to Japanese officials. Indonesia has no extradition treaty with the United States.

On Monday a team of Japanese officials left for Jakarta to set up the meeting. Officials were arranging for the family to be reunited for a week, TBS television reported earlier.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said a private plane chartered by the Japanese government would fly Jenkins and his daughters from North Korea to Indonesia on Friday. Soga would arrive in Indonesia on Thursday, the broadcaster said.

Neither Japanese nor Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials would confirm the reports.

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