World

South Korea lifts travel ban on Japanese journalist charged with defaming President Park

  • Japanese journalist Tatsuya Kato leaves for Japan at Gimpo Airport in Seoul, South Korea Tuesday, April 14, 2015. South Korea has lifted an overseas travel ban on Kato charged with defaming the South Korean president, officials said Tuesday. (Lee Ji-eun/Yonhap via AP) KOREA OUT

    Japanese journalist Tatsuya Kato leaves for Japan at Gimpo Airport in Seoul, South Korea Tuesday, April 14, 2015. South Korea has lifted an overseas travel ban on Kato charged with defaming the South Korean president, officials said Tuesday. (Lee Ji-eun/Yonhap via AP) KOREA OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese journalist Tatsuya Kato of Sankei Shimbun newspaper, answers a reporter's question upon his arrival at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo Tuesday, April 14, 2015. South Korea lifted an overseas travel ban on Kato, a former Seoul bureau chief of the conservative Japanese newspaper, charged with defaming the South Korean president, officials said earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japanese journalist Tatsuya Kato of Sankei Shimbun newspaper, answers a reporter's question upon his arrival at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo Tuesday, April 14, 2015. South Korea lifted an overseas travel ban on Kato, a former Seoul bureau chief of the conservative Japanese newspaper, charged with defaming the South Korean president, officials said earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese journalist Tatsuya Kato of Sankei Shimbun newspaper speaks to the media upon his arrival at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo Tuesday, April 14, 2015. South Korea lifted an overseas travel ban on Kato, a former Seoul bureau chief of the conservative Japanese newspaper, charged with defaming the South Korean president, officials said earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japanese journalist Tatsuya Kato of Sankei Shimbun newspaper speaks to the media upon his arrival at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo Tuesday, April 14, 2015. South Korea lifted an overseas travel ban on Kato, a former Seoul bureau chief of the conservative Japanese newspaper, charged with defaming the South Korean president, officials said earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

South Korea has lifted an overseas travel ban on a Japanese journalist charged with defaming the South Korean president.

Tatsuya Kato had been banned from leaving South Korea since last August while prosecutors investigated his article about rumors that President Park Geun-hye was absent for seven hours during last year's ferry disaster because she was with a man.

Kato, a former Seoul bureau chief of the conservative Sankei Shimbun newspaper, was indicted in October.

A Seoul prosecutors' office said Tuesday that the Justice Ministry had accepted its request to lift the travel ban. It said the decision was made after judges determined that Kato's report was inaccurate and that he promised to attend trial proceedings in Seoul.

Kato's indictment raised questions about South Korea's press freedom.