- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2023

A Japanese celebrity gossip YouTuber became the first person expelled from Japan’s parliament in over 70 years Wednesday after never showing up for work.

Yoshikazu Higashitani, online alias GaaSyy, was elected to the House of Councillors, the upper house of the country’s National Diet, last July. 

After winning, Mr. Higashitani stayed abroad, primarily in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, due to legal troubles at home. 

He fears lawsuits from the celebrities discussed in his YouTube videos, and he was sought for questioning by Japanese police on grounds of defaming and intimidating celebrities.

Mr. Higashitani had agreed to apologize in an open session of parliament for his truancy on March 8, only to backtrack due to his fear of arrest. 

A video apology he sent in instead was not accepted, according to Japanese wire news agency Kyodo News.

During the session, Mr. Higashitani was in Turkey distributing earthquake relief.

On Tuesday, the House of Councillors disciplinary committee unanimously voted to expel him, and in a session Wednesday, the rest of the House of Councillors made it official.

The National Diet has not expelled a member since 1951. Mr. Higashitani is only the third person to be expelled under the 1947 Japanese constitution. 

Mr. Higashitani will be replaced by another member of the Politician Girls 48 Party.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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