Travel Ban Lifted for Japanese Reporter

luvsmiling, April 14, 2015, 7:50 a.m.

An exit ban has been lifted for a Japanese reporter on trial here for defaming President Park Geun-hye, prosecutors said Tuesday.  Tatsuya Kato had been prohibited from leaving South Korea since August pending a trial for libel.

The former Seoul bureau chief for Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper is accused of defaming Park by reporting rumors that she might have been with a man at the time of the April 16 South Korean ferry sinking, one of South Korea's worst peacetime disasters.  The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said Kato is now allowed to visit home since prosecutors have finished their court arguments.

Prosecutors said they are making an exception for the 49-year-old since he has promised to attend all remaining trials and has the backing of his employer, adding the exception was also made on "humanitarian grounds" as he has an ailing mother along with the rest of his family in Japan.


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