A warrant for the arrest of expelled upper house lawmaker Yoshikazu Higashitani, who goes by the moniker GaaSyy, was being sought Thursday by the Metropolitan Police Department.
The police suspect that Higashitani violated the Law on Punishment of Physical Violence and Others for repeatedly making threatening and defamatory remarks against celebrities and other people in his YouTube videos posted from February through August last year.
A day earlier, he was expelled from the House of Councillors for failing to attend any Diet sessions since he was elected for the first time in July.
Higashitani, 51, is believed to be staying in the United Arab Emirates in order to avoid arrest.
The MPD will soon request Japan's Foreign Ministry to issue Higashitani an order to turn in his passport before asking Interpol to place him on an international wanted list, according to sources.
An arrest warrant was also sought for a company executive in his 40s on suspicion of having created and edited the videos in question, a violation of the same law. This man is also believed to be staying in the Middle Eastern country.
Since December, the MPD made requests several times to Higashitani to present himself for questioning on a voluntary basis. In January, it searched the house of a man who effectively represents the company that manages the revenue from GaaSyy's YouTube videos.
The MPD decided it was necessary to arrest the former lawmaker because he had never accepted their requests for questioning, while at the same time, Higashitani continued to post videos in which he appears to threaten celebrities.
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