SEOUL (AFP) -A Japanese journalist on trial for allegedly defaming South Korean President Park Geun-Hye said Thursday that a ban on his leaving the country had been extended by another three months.
The case has strained relations between Seoul and Tokyo, which condemned the extension as a “grave humanitarian issue” and said it would issue a formal protest.
“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.
The travel ban on the former Seoul bureau chief of Japan’s conservative Sankei Shimbun has been in force since August last year.
Kato is charged with criminal libel punishable by up to seven years’ jail.
The charge stems from an August article he wrote about Park’s whereabouts on the day the Sewol passenger ferry sank in April with the loss of around 300 lives.
At a preliminary court hearing in November, the journalist insisted he had no intention of defaming Park.