South Korean and Japanese media say a Japanese newspaper's former Seoul bureau chief has been indicted on charges he defamed South Korea's president in an online story.

The allegations against the Sankei Shinbun reporter have raised questions about South Korean press freedom. The indictment by Seoul prosecutors on Wednesday, which was confirmed by the newspaper, comes amid rising animosity between the countries.

The Yonhap news agency quoted prosecutors as saying they charged Tatsuya Kato after concluding that his report was false.

The indictment is linked to an article by Kato on Aug. 3 about South Korean President Park Geun-hye's whereabouts on the day in April when a ferry sank, killing more than 300 people.

Kato's article reported rumors that she may have been with a recently divorced former aide.