Updated August. 20, 2014 05:22
Japanese newspapers showed keen interest in appearance before Korean prosecution by Tatsuya Kato, the Sankei Shimbuns Seoul bureau chief, on Monday. Kato, 48, was sued by a Korean civic group for writing an online article that raised suspicion over privacy of President Park Geun-hye in connection of her whereabouts and acts on the day of Sewol sinking.
Using three pages in Tuesdays issue, Sankei heavily carried pieces featuring claims by Japanese scholars and journalists who protest the Seoul governments response to the article. Kan Kimura, Kobe University professor whose major is area studies on the Korean Peninsula, said, The case typically suggests the characteristic of the Park Geun-hye administration, adding, Prosecution took action to help save the face of the president rather than the state, and the case illustrates President Parks weak lenience.
Soichiro Tahara, a famed current affairs show host, said, (The world) sees South Korea as different from North Korea, but the latest response will significantly damage South Koreas image in the international community. The Japanese daily claimed Katos article largely quotes an op-ed piece in the Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, and the South Korean government is handling foreign media differently from the way it deals with domestic media. Other Japanese newspapers mostly expressed concern over prosecutorial investigation as well, irrespective of the legitimacy of Sankeis article.
After introducing in details the background of the stir on the day, the Asahi Shimbun said, It is unusual (case) that a reporter with a foreign media outlet is subjected to prosecutorial investigation over a report. The daily also quoted a Korean lawyer as saying, The South Korean governments response to the report seems to be somewhat emotional. Yomiuri reported many people in online communities in Korea also demand that President Parks whereabouts and activities on the day of the Sewol disaster be publicized. Kyoto News Agency quoted the Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club, a group of foreign reporters in Korea, as stating, The group will pay close attention to the case with keen interest.