YouTube star GaaSyy expelled as member of Japanese parliament for lack of attendance

(CNN) A YouTube star turned Japanese lawmaker has been removed from office after failing to show up for a single day’s work in parliament.

In a plenary session on Wednesday, Japan’s parliament expelled Yoshikazu Higashitani for his prolonged absence, the first time he has taken such a step in more than seven decades.

Yoshikazu is best known by his online alias GaaSyy under which he ran a celebrity gossip YouTube channel.

He was elected to the upper house of the Japanese parliament in July 2022.

But he did not respond to an “invitation letter” from the Speaker of the Upper House, was absent from the March 8 plenary session and has not attended a single parliamentary session since his election.

Japanese parliamentary law stipulates that parliamentarians must report to the House on the day it is called.

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 traveling to Turkey to help in areas affected by the recent devastating earthquake, CNN affiliate TV Asahi reported on March 6.

GaaSyy was once asked to apologize for his absence, but didn’t.

On Tuesday, the Upper House Disciplinary Committee unanimously decided to exclude him as an MP, the harshest possible sentence.

His expulsion is the first in 72 years and only the third under the current Japanese constitution.

GaaSyy joins a member of Japan’s upper house expelled in 1950 and a member of the lower house from 1951.

Japanese media reported that GaaSyy refused to attend parliament because he feared he would be arrested if he returned to his country.

He is being sued for defamation by several celebrities for the content of some of his YouTube videos.

For at least one celebrity talk video in particular, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police asked GaaSyy to participate in a voluntary interview.

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