PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) – An American accused of deserting his Army unit 40 years ago to defect to North Korea left Pyongyang on Friday with his two daughters to be reunited with his Japanese wife in Indonesia.

Charles Jenkins, wearing a dark gray suit and sunglasses, boarded the plane sent for him by the Japanese government to meet his wife, Hitomi Soga, in Jakarta later in the day.

North Korean TV footage broadcast in Japan showed Jenkins and his daughters before the flight wearing North Korean flag pins. He smoked a Marlboro cigarette – a luxury item in the impoverished state.

The broadcast, however, broke off as the plane was moving slowly down the runway. Japan’s Kyodo News service reported that the plane took off moments later.

AP-ES-07-08-04 2228EDT

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