In a plenary session, the Japanese parliament expelled Yoshikazu Higashitani for his continued absence, the first time in over seven decades that this had happened.
Yoshikazu is better known by his nickname GaaSyy, which he used on his YouTube channel where he talked about celebrity gossip.
He was elected to the upper house of Japan’s parliament in July 2022.
But he did not respond to an “invitation” from the president 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 members of parliament must appear in the chamber on the day of their summons.
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 areas affected by the recent devastating earthquake, CNN affiliate TV Asahi reported on March 6.
GaaSyy had previously been asked to apologize for his absence, but he didn’t.
On Tuesday, the upper house’s disciplinary commission unanimously voted to expel him as a member of parliament, the harshest possible punishment.
His expulsion is the first in 72 years and only the third ever under Japan’s current constitution.
GaaSyy joins a member of Japan’s upper house who was expelled in 1950 and a member of the lower house from 1951.
Japanese media reported that GaaSyy refused to appear in parliament because he feared arrest if he returned to his country.
He is being sued for defamation by several celebrities over the content of some of his YouTube videos.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police asked GaaSyy to participate in a voluntary interview about at least one of the celebrity-related videos.