A YouTuber-turned-lawmaker was dismissed from Japan’s upper house on Wednesday for failing to attend any parliamentary sessions since he got elected last year. He has become the first member of the Diet to be ousted in more than seven decades, Kyodo News reported.
Yoshikazu Higashitani also known as GaaSyy was expelled, and the punishment was the most severe reprimand of the four degrees allowed by the national Diet law. While away, he lost his position as a legislator.
GaaSyy, a member of a small, one-issue party, was given the third-strictest possible sentence last week and had a chance to make amends in front of the House of Councillors. Yet after sending a video apology, that was rejected, he chose not to make amends in person.
As a result, GaaSyy’s actions before the disciplinary committee for “disturbing the order” in parliament were once more brought up by Hidehisa Otsuji, head of the upper chamber.
According to Kyodo News, under the current Constitution, which went into effect in 1947, there have only ever been two instances of expulsion from the parliament. GaaSyy became the first lawmaker to be removed from the legislature since 1951 and to get a warning for being absent.
Just GaaSyy’s lone fellow party member in the upper house opposed his expulsion out of the 236 MPs who attended the plenary session on Wednesday.
Nearly all political parties indicated support for the chamber’s decision to censure GaaSyy, according to Hiroshige Sekom secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of the House of Councillors.
GaaSyy’s expulsion was a “matter of course,” according to Masayo Tanabu, a senior member of the prominent opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan because he lacked awareness of representing the public as required by the Constitution.
GaaSyy has resided in the United Arab Emirates ever since he earned his seat in the upper house election in July 2022.
Since being elected to parliament, he has received more than 19 million yen ($140,000) in pay and incentives despite never showing up.
GaaSyy had first expressed a desire to visit Japan to apologise, but last week he visited earthquake-stricken Turkey instead.
A report published in Kyodo News read although the Japanese Constitution states that legislative members are “free from apprehension while the Diet is in session,” he has claimed that he has remained abroad out of fear of being “maliciously arrested” as a result of a “false criminal accusation.”
GaaSyy gained notoriety for tweeting about rumours and suspicions of scandals involving celebrities on his YouTube channel prior to the upper house election last year.
He was elected to the Diet using the proportional representation system, in which seats are divided in line with the votes cast for each political party and its candidates.
GaaSyy, a member of the Seijikajoshi48 Party, often known as the politician females 48 party, is accused of defrauding several people out of money by promising to arrange for them to see the members of the well-known K-pop boy band BTS.
The small opposition group, formerly known as the NHK Party, has changed its name. It gained notoriety by attacking Japan’s public broadcaster.
According to investigating sources, cited by Kyodo News, GaaSyy was voluntarily questioned by Japanese police in December on grounds of possible extortion and defamation in connection with his YouTube remarks.
In response to the charges, the police searched various places connected to him in January, reported Kyodo News.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)