YouTuber-turned-lawmaker expelled from Japan’s parliament

Tokyo, Mar 15 (EFE).- A Japanese YouTuber-turned-lawmaker became the country’s first member of parliament to be expelled in 72 years on Wednesday, losing his seat for not having attended a single chamber session since his election last year.

GaaSyy, 51, and whose real name is Yoshikazu Higashitani, also became the first to be reprimanded for his absence.

He made a name for himself ahead of the July 2022 upper house election by posting celebrity gossip on his YouTube channel and won his seat after he was top of the list of candidates of the then-NHK Party, a single-issue party critical of the main public broadcaster, now named Seijika-joshi-48.

Expulsion is the most severe punishment a lawmaker can receive in Japan and this is only the third time it has been executed since the adoption of the current constitution in 1947, and the first expulsion since 1951.

GaaSyy, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, has not attended any of the parliamentary sessions held since he won his seat last year, despite repeated appeals from the Diet to appear in the chamber.

Last week, the Diet required him to appear in parliament to apologize for his absence and thus avoid expulsion, a requirement he failed to comply with.

GaaSyy has not returned to Japan for fear of being arrested over allegations of fraud and defamation, according to local media.

His party claims that his expulsion is illegal, but the disciplinary committee unanimously formalized the decision on Wednesday. EFE


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