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Japan parliament expels YouTuber MP who never came to work

Agence France-Presse - Agence France-Presse
Japan parliament expels YouTuber MP who never came to work
A session of Japan's parliament in Tokyo on March 10, 2023
AFP / file

TOKYO, Japan — A celebrity gossip YouTuber-turned-lawmaker became the first MP expelled by Japan's parliament in over 70 years, having not shown up to work once.

Yoshikazu Higashitani, known by his online moniker GaaSyy, had been ordered to apologize for his months-long absence earlier in March.

But the lawmaker, one of two elected members of the fringe party Seijika Joshi 48, or "Politician Girls 48", did not attend that parliamentary session either.

Higashitani, 51, had not set foot in the House of Councillors since his July 2022 election, despite a requirement for lawmakers to be present.

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The former businessman and YouTuber has instead remained at his home in Dubai, claiming he may be arrested if he returns to Japan, where he reportedly faces questioning over alleged defamation. 

Japan's Upper House decided on Tuesday to expel him from parliament. The move was made official Wednesday — making him the first Japanese lawmaker to be expelled since 1951, local media reported.

Higashitani will be replaced by another member of his party.

The single-issue Seijika Joshi 48 party campaigns for changes to Japan's public broadcaster and was previously known as the NHK Party.

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