SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A Seoul court is set to issue a verdict on a Japanese reporter charged with defaming South Korea's president by reporting that she was spending time with a man during a deadly ferry disaster last year.
Prosecutors previously requested an 18-month prison term for Tatsuya Kato of Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper over the article that listed rumors that President Park Geun-hye was absent for seven hours during the disaster that killed more than 300 people.
Kato's lawyer said his story serves the public's interest.
The Seoul Central District Court will rule on Kato's case Thursday.
Critics say that pursuing the case against Kato is part of a string of incidents by Park's government that infringe upon free speech.