A celebrity gossip YouTuber turned MP will become Japan’s first lawmaker to be kicked out of parliament without ever actually entering it.
Yoshikazu Higashitani was expelled on Tuesday by his Senate colleagues for never coming to work.
He has not attended a single day of parliament sessions since being elected to office seven months ago.
The parliament’s discipline committee stripped him of his status because of the continued absence.
Voters had elected Mr Higashitani to the upper house last July. He is better known as GaaSyy on YouTube where he is famous for his celebrity gossip videos.
Expulsion is the most severe punishment a lawmaker can receive. It has happened only two times since 1950 and 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.
The lawmaker – who has been nicknamed ‘No-show MP’- is believed to be living in the United Arab Emirates.
He has so far refused to attend parliament because he fears being arrested over fraud allegations, and defamation claims from celebrities, Japanese media reported.
He is one of two members elected from the Seijika-joshi-48 opposition party. The single-issue party – formerly known as the NHK Party – only calls for 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. Lawmakers had said this would be a last chance for redemption. But Mr 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.
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 Mr Higashitani because of his absence from sessions. However the committee voted unanimously to expel him.