Japanese YouTuber-turned-politician expelled for never showing up to parliament

Japanese YouTuber-turned-politician expelled for never showing up to parliamentJapanese YouTuber-turned-politician expelled for never showing up to parliament
via @gaasyy_ch
A famous Japanese YouTuber-turned-politician has become the first lawmaker expelled by his Senate colleagues for not attending a single parliament session since he was first elected in July.
Yoshikazu Higashitani, better known by his YouTube name GaaSyy, was removed from his position in the House of Councilors — the upper house of the National Diet of Japan — after the disciplinary committee unanimously voted for his expulsion during a plenary session on Tuesday.
Higashitani was elected to the House of Councilors in July 2022 following his successful campaign while he was abroad.
The Japanese lawmaker, who gained fame for his now-suspended YouTube channel with over 1.2 million subscribers that covered celebrity gossip and scandals, was one of the only two members of the single-issue Seijika-joshi-48 (or Politician Girls 48) opposition party.
Formerly known as the NHK Party, the party’s sole campaign was to reform Japan’s public broadcaster, calling for the government to end NHK’s license fees.
Some senate members reportedly gave Higashitani a chance last week to attend the plenary session and apologize in person to the chamber for all of his absences.
Despite that, the Japanese lawmaker remained a no-show. Higashitani shared in an Instagram post on March 7 that he was in Turkey supporting the earthquake relief efforts and had refused to return to Japan to apologize.
His video angered several of his colleagues, resulting in the decision to expel him. Higashitani’s lone party-mate, Hamada Satoshi, argued against the ruling, which will be formalized later this week.
Satoshi read Higashitani’s statement during a committee meeting in February, saying that the YouTuber politician refused to return for fear of being “maliciously detained” due to a “false criminal complaint.”
Japanese authorities launched an investigation into Higashitani after receiving complaints from celebrities he allegedly defamed and intimidated in his videos. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police reportedly asked him to come in voluntarily for an interview in one of the cases.
Only two Japanese lawmakers have been expelled since 1950, with Higashitani reportedly becoming the first to be expelled from parliament without ever entering it.
The most recent incident of a Japanese politician being reprimanded by the Upper House members was in 2013, when the late Antonio Inoki, a professional wrestler-turned-politician, visited North Korea without authorization. He was slapped with a 30-day suspension from attending parliament sessions.
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