Japan Upper House Expels Absent Lawmaker GaaSyy

The Yomiuri Shimbun
House of Councillors President Hidehisa Otsuji pronounces the expulsion of GaaSyy on Wednesday.

The House of Councillors voted Wednesday to expel GaaSyy, a member of the Seijika Joshi 48 Party, over his continued absence from Diet sessions.

GaaSyy, whose real name is Yoshikazu Higashitani, lost his status as a Diet member when upper house president Hidehisa Otsuji pronounced his expulsion during a plenary session on Wednesday.

This is the first time since 1951 that a member of the Diet has been expelled from the Diet, and the third case under the current Constitution. No other lawmaker has ever been expelled for being absent from Diet sessions.

GaaSyy was elected to the upper house in July last year as a member of the NHK Party, which recently changed its name to the Seijika Joshi 48 Party. However, GaaSyy has stayed abroad and never attended a Diet session.

Because he did not appear at the Diet to apologize, as sought by the upper house as a disciplinary measure, GaaSyy was subject to expulsion, the most serious punishment under the Diet Law.

Satoshi Hamada, a House of Councillors member from the Seijika Joshi 48 Party spoke on behalf of GaaSyy at the plenary session, arguing that the expulsion was unfair.

“He was elected on a pledge that he would not attend upper house sessions,” Hamada said.

An open ballot was held, with members of the Liberal Democratic Party, Constitutional Democratic Party, Komeito, Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), the Democratic Party for the People and the Japanese Communist Party voting for expulsion.

More than two-thirds of the members present voted in favor, as required for expulsion under Article 58 of the Constitution.

There are four types of disciplinary punishments under the Diet Law. They are, in decreasing order of severity, expulsion, suspension of attendance at the chamber for a certain period, an apology in an open plenary sitting and admonition in an open plenary sitting.

Two Diet members had previously been expelled from the Diet. Upper house member Tomozo Ogawa was ejected in 1950, after he voted in favor of a budget despite arguing against it, and House of Representatives member Kanichi Kawakami was expelled in 1951 for refusing to apologize over a disturbing comment.