“I was told by my lawyers that the ban on my leaving the country had been renewed for three more months,” Tatsuya Kato told AFP last week, leading up to his next hearing Monday.
The charges against Kato are criminal libel, which stem from an August 2014 article Kato wrote about Park’s whereabouts on the day the Sewol passenger ferry sinking. Kato charges are punishable by up to seven years in jail.
The case has strained relations between Tokyo and Seoul while at the same time garnering international concern about media freedom in South Korea.
The travel ban on the former Seoul bureau chief of Japan’s conservative daily Sankei Shimbun has been in place since August last year.
Kato contends that he had no intention of defaming Park.
The next hearing is scheduled for Monday.
The case has drawn concern from international free speech advocates, including the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, who have voiced concern about what some say is a lack of tolerance for dissent in South Korea.
Critics say that the country’s system hampers the press by placing the burden of proof in such cases on defendants rather than on prosecutors, or on those who say they were defamed –even if the alleged victims of libel are public figures.
This comes as the country recently expelled a Korean-American author on charges that she praised North Korea –followed by the arrest of a Korean activist last week on charges of breaking the country’s anti-communist National Security Law over comments she made about North Korea.
Two Journalists Acquitted
In related news, two South Korean journalists who have been vocal critics of President Park were acquitted Friday, on appeal, from charges of defaming Park’s brother, in a case that rights groups saw as a test of freedom of speech.
The Latest Haps
The latest cold wave has reached its peak today while the severe cold weather in Busan and Gyeongnam will continue until just before the Lunar New Year holidays.
The first children’s water park in the city is set to be built at the Millak Waterfront Park in Suyeong-gu this summer.
The amount of the food allowance in the Kim Young-ran law may be altered from March in order to help domestic demand.
A South Korean man who was reportedly kidnapped in the Philippines in 2016 was recently found dead by local authorities there.
This Friday, January 20th, at HQ Bar KSU sees the return of the monthly Ha Ha Hole, Busan’s only live English comedy show.
Legendary K-pop boy band Shinwha is performing a concert in Busan on February 11th as part of their “Unchanging” tour.
The Busan International Film Festival will begin a little later than usual this year because of the Chuseok holidays.
Costco in Busan will alter their retail hours during the New Year’s Lunar holiday this week.
Watch an episode of Al Jazeera’s 101 East which focuses on why Korea’s youth are fleeing their home country for life and work overseas.
Here’s some help with picking the right grapes to accompany your next Korean meal.
Sulbing, Busan’s famous patbingsu dessert chain, will open its first location in Fukuoka on February 3rd.
Hard Rock Cafe Busan is offering a Wednesday night “Global Day” discount for foreigners.
Take a look inside the traditional cultures of the Vietnamese highlands
Officials said today, starting in April, South Korea will check information on inbound air passengers to sort out potential terrorists.
The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2017 is taking place February 16-19 at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
Infielder for the Lotte Giants Hwang Jae-gyun has decided to leave the Korean Baseball Organization to challenge the Major Leagues.
The sports ministry said that South Korea plans to spend 937.2 billion won (US$779.7 million) this year in support for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games preparations.