1. Wide of Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper reporter Tatsuya Kato arriving at court
2. Kato entering court
3. South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman Cho June-hyuck arriving at briefing
4. Wide of briefing
5. Mid of Cho at podium
6. SOUNDBITE (Korean) Cho June-hyuck, South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman:
"I am aware that the Foreign Ministry has made such a request to the prosecution (for favorable arrangements for Sankei Shimbun newspaper reporter Tatsuya Kato). However, I am unable to discuss any details of this."
A Seoul court on Thursday acquitted a Japanese reporter of defaming South Korea's president by alleging that she was spending time with a man during a deadly ferry disaster last year.
The ruling by the Seoul Central District Court comes as President Park Geun-hye faces criticism that she has clamped down on journalists.
The case has been seen as a test of free speech as opponents say government attacks on personal and political liberties are growing.
Prosecutors last year indicted Tatsuya Kato of Japan's conservative Sankei Shimbun newspaper over an article that listed rumours that Park was absent for seven hours during the disaster that killed more than 300 people, mostly teenagers.
Prosecutors, who previously requested an 18-month prison term, have one week to appeal the ruling.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said earlier on Thursday that it had asked the Justice Ministry to consider Japan's request for leniency on Kato.
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