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.