Tokyo: Japan`s upper house of parliament on Wednesday expelled an absentee lawmaker for not attending a single parliamentary session since being elected in July 2022. Yoshikazu Higashitani, a content creator known as GaaSyy, has been living overseas and failed to account for his absenteeism on multiple occasions despite being given the chance to do so, reports Xinhua news agency.
Having already been stripped of his status as a lawmaker, Higashitani`s expulsion from the upper chamber represents the most serious punishment under Diet Law.
While Higashitani is the third lawmaker to be removed under Japan`s current Constitution, he is the first to be expelled from parliament for failing to attend sessions.
All but one of the 236 upper house members voted for Higashitani`s expulsion in the plenary session held on Wednesday.
The sole supporter for the absentee lawmaker who has been living in the United Arab Emirates since before his election, also belonged to Higashitani`s single-issue Seijika-joshi-48 Party.
The tiny party, previously called the NHK Party, was known for being critical of Japan`s public broadcaster.
Higashitani came to prominence on YouTube for posting content about alleged celebrity scandals.
His posts led to the police asking him to submit to voluntary questioning in December last year and related locations being searched the following month.
He has been under fire for amassing more than 19 million yen ($141,000) in salary and bonuses as a lawmaker since being elected, despite his zero attendance rate.
Higashitani is also alleged to have duped multiple people out of money after promising he could arrange for them to meet the members of a prominent South Korean pop group.
Hiroshige Seko, the Liberal Democratic Party`s upper house secretary-general, said Wednesday that it was the will of all political groups to expel Higashitani.
Main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan member Masayo Tanabu, meanwhile, said Higashitani lacked awareness of representing the public as stipulated by the Constitution and that it was a matter of course that he was expelled.