Ex-lawmaker GaaSyy Denies Some Charges in 1st Hearing

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Former House of Councillors lawmaker Yoshikazu Higashitani, known as GaaSyy, is seen at Narita Airport on June 4.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Former Japanese lawmaker GaaSyy, charged with intimidating celebrities repeatedly in online videos, denied some of the charges at his first court hearing Tuesday.

In his arraignment at Tokyo District Court, GaaSyy, 51, whose real name is Yoshikazu Higashitani, admitted to making threats, saying he “actually made remarks as shown by the indictment” and that he is “sorry for the victims.”

In their opening statement, prosecutors said GaaSyy came to think of revenge against celebrities as they kept a distance from him in the wake of a weekly magazine report alleging that the ex-lawmaker committed fraud.

“In his gossip YouTube channel launched in February last year, he released videos including slander of disobedient celebrities, gaining about a million viewers in some two months,” prosecutors pointed out.

While being an active gossip YouTuber based in Dubai, GaaSyy ran in the July 2022 election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, from the then NHK Party and won a seat.

He was expelled from the upper house and disqualified as a lawmaker in March for never attending a parliamentary session.

Japanese police placed GaaSyy on an international wanted list through Interpol the following month. He returned to Japan in June and was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department on charges of violating the physical violence punishment law.

According to the indictment, GaaSyy threatened celebrities in YouTube videos between February and August last year by saying he would expose every secret he knew about them, and also intimidated two of the victims this February in an attempt to have them drop their criminal complaints against him.