He was never there – and now he’s gone again…
YouTube star Yoshikazu Higashitani was elected to the Diet of Japan in July 2022. Now the deputy has to resign because he never attended the meetings.
The first: The 51-year-old was expelled from parliament on Wednesday, the first in more than 70 years, without ever setting foot in the National Parliament building in central Tokyo’s Nagacho district.
Higashitani became a star in Japan with celebrity gossip on the video-sharing platform YouTube, where he is known as “GaaSyy”. He was elected to Parliament as one of two representatives of the One Issue Party “Sigika Joshi 48”, which advocates reform of state-only television.
However, Higashitani has been living in Dubai for some time now. And although he was elected as a people’s representative, he stayed there – because, according to his statements, he was threatened with arrest in Japan.
As reported by Japanese media, he fears allegations of fraud and subsequent lawsuits for defamation from celebrities he has produced videos about. Indeed, according to media reports, investigations against him for defamation are ongoing.
Expulsion is the most severe punishment for a deputy. This has only happened twice since 1950 – the first time a deputy has been fired for an extended absence.
Last week, the parliament demanded that Higashitani travel to Tokyo to apologize in person in the plenary hall for his absence. MEPs said this was the last chance to make amends. However, Higashitani did not appear at the plenary session. Instead, he announced on his YouTube channel that he will travel to Turkey and donate his salary to the Turkish earthquake relief effort.