National / Crime & Legal

South Korea prosecutors will not appeal Sankei acquittal


Seoul prosecutors say they will not appeal the recent acquittal of a Japanese journalist they had earlier charged with defaming South Korea’s president.

Prosecutors had sought an 18-month prison term for Tatsuya Kato of the conservative Sankei Shimbun newspaper, but a Seoul district court declared him not guilty last week. The court said that Kato’s story contained false information but that press freedoms must be protected.

The Seoul Central District Prosecution Office said Wednesday it will not appeal, partly in consideration of ties with Tokyo and partly because the falsehoods in Kato’s story have been made clear.

Kato’s story repeated local media and financial industry rumors that President Park Geun-hye was meeting with a man during a deadly ferry sinking last year.

Park’s office has said she was not with the man, a former adviser.