MP expelled for never going to work


He is the MP who extraordinarily has never set foot in parliament.

Yoshikazu Higashitani, or GaaSyy as he is known on YouTube, has avoided the Japanese parliament for fear of being arrested over fraud allegations and defamation claims from celebrities, the BBC reports.

Mr Higashitani is best known to the public for his celebrity gossip videos. He was elected to the Japanese upper house last July.

Expulsion is the most severe punishment a politician can receive and has only happened two times since 1950.

This is the first time an MP has been expelled due to continued absence.

The chamber is set to formalise the decision later this week.

Mr Higashitani is believed to be living in the United Arab Emirates.

He is one of two members elected from the Seijika-joshi-48 opposition party.
The single-issue party – formerly known as the NHK Party – wants reforms to Japan’s public broadcaster.

The party regularly changes its name for publicity reasons, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper has reported.

Last week, parliament had demanded Mr Higashitani fly to Tokyo to deliver an in-person apology in the chamber for his absence. Politicians had said this would be a last chance for redemption.

But Higashitani failed to show up at the plenary session.

Instead, he announced on his YouTube channel that he was going to Turkey – and that he was planning to donate his salary to the Turkish earthquake relief.

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His absence angered the Senate – whose members voted for his expulsion this week.

His sole other party colleague, Hamada Satoshi, argued that it was illegal to expel Higashitani because of his absence from sessions. However the committee voted unanimously to expel him.

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