A YouTube star who became a Japanese lawmaker has been stripped of his role after he failed to show up for a single day of work in parliament.
At a plenary session on Wednesday, Japan’s parliament expelled Yoshikazu Higashitani for his continued absence, the first time it has taken such a step in more than seven decades.
Yoshikazu is better known by his online alias GaaSyy under which he ran a YouTube channel talking about celebrity gossip.
He was elected to the Upper House of Japan’s parliament in July 2022.
But he failed to respond to a ‘letter of invitation’ from the Speaker of the Upper House, was absent from the March 8 plenary session and did not attend a single parliamentary session since his election.
Japanese parliamentary law stipulates that members of parliament must come to the House on the day it is convened.
At the time of the March 8 plenary session, GaaSyy was out of the country, according to local media.
In a video, GaaSyy said he was going to Turkey to help in areas affected by the recent devastating earthquake, CNN affiliate TV Asahi reported on March 6.
GaaSyy was previously asked to apologize for his absence but did not.
On Tuesday, the disciplinary committee of the Upper House unanimously decided to expel him as a member of parliament, the most severe possible punishment.
His expulsion is the first in 72 years and only the third ever under the current Japanese constitution.
GaaSyy joins a member of Japan’s upper chamber who was expelled in 1950 and a member of the lower house from 1951.
Japanese media has reported that GaaSyy refused to attend parliament because he feared being arrested if he returned to his country.
He’s being sued for defamation by several celebrities over the content of some of his YouTube videos.
For at least one celebrity exposé video in particular, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police have asked GaaSyy to participate in a voluntary interview.