Japanese lawmaker GaaSyy refuses to return home for apology at Diet

A member of Japan's Upper House who has been asked to apologize in the Diet for his continued absence from its sessions has refused to do so.

GaaSyy, whose real name is Higashitani Yoshikazu, said on Tuesday in a livestream on Instagram that he would not return to Japan for the apology scheduled for the next day.

GaaSyy is a YouTuber who won a seat in last year's Upper House election. He has not attended any Diet sessions despite repeated calls for him to do so.

He belongs to the NHK Party, which wants reforms implemented at the public broadcaster.

In the livestream from Turkey, he claimed that about 90 percent of those around him are against his returning to Japan. He also said it would be too early for him to do so.

He added that he offered to submit a video in which he reads out an apology to the Diet, but that the offer was rejected.

The Upper House decided in February to demand an apology in person from GaaSyy in the chamber. The punishment is the third-most serious of four penalties handed down to lawmakers.

In response to his refusal to comply with the demand for an apology, the chamber's Committee on Discipline is expected to discuss the matter, including the possibility of the most severe penalty -- expulsion from the Diet.