In an unprecedented move, Japan’s parliament recently expelled a member for never setting foot in the chamber since his election seven months ago. This is the first time such a situation has ever occurred and has caused quite a stir among Japanese citizens.
Yoshikazu Higashitani was elected to Parliament on October 20th, 2019, and was part of the political party known as GaaSyy (Gathering Around Society for New Era). However, during his entire tenure, he failed to attend a single parliament session!
In January 2020, the parliament’s disciplinary committee voted unanimously to expel him from office due to his continued absence.
GaaSyy is A Big Name on YouTube
Prior to his election, Yoshikazu Higashitani was a fairly popular celebrity YouTuber known for gossip and entertainment news. He had built up a large following of fans who were excited to see him transition into politics but were disappointed when he never showed up to work.
Nonetheless, it goes without saying that GaaSyy still has a decent following on YouTube. And his expulsion from the office is not affecting his fame online.
The scandal has caused many in Japan to question the credibility of their politicians and whether they are serious about engaging with the people they represent. It remains to be seen how this will impact future elections but it is clear that voters will be paying much closer attention before casting their ballots.
In any case, Yamaguchi Prefecture’s Yoshikazu Higashitani has become Japan’s first lawmaker to be kicked out of parliament without ever actually entering it – an unfortunate but historic event in the country’s political history.
The Expulsion of MPs in Japan
Unlike the United States and other countries, Japan has no legal provision for the expulsion of MPs. In the past, if an MP was found to be in violation of any law or code of conduct, they were usually forced to resign from office.
This has changed with the Higashitani case as a new precedent has now been set within Japan’s parliament. This could mean that similar cases will be subject to more scrutiny and potential expulsion in the future.
For now, it is unclear where Yoshikazu Higashitani has gone since his disappearance. Reports suggest that he may have fled to the United Arab Emirates. It remains unclear how the Japanese government deals with such cases in the future and the implications for MPs in Japan.
Only time will tell how this new precedent could affect Japanese politics. Hopefully, it will lead to greater accountability for members of parliament and a stronger commitment to upholding the laws and codes of conduct expected from public servants.
Similarly, it is also important that any such incidents be investigated thoroughly. So that, if any wrongdoing has occurred, the responsible parties can be held to account in a fair and transparent way. Any expulsion of members of parliament should not be taken lightly and should only occur when it is absolutely warranted by the facts presented in an investigation.