TOKYO (Kyodo) — Former Japanese lawmaker and YouTuber GaaSyy admitted online intimidation against celebrities at his first court hearing Tuesday, while his defense team denied he was a “chronic” offender.
In the first public statement since his arrest in June, the 51-year-old defendant, whose real name is Yoshikazu Higashitani, apologized to the Tokyo District Court and said: “I am sorry that my actions have caused enormous psychological pain and economic damage .” (to the victims).”
GaaSyy became a popular YouTuber who posted videos about celebrity scandals on his channel. In March, he was stripped of his lawmaker status by the House of Councilors because he had not attended a meeting since his election last July.
According to the written indictment, GaaSyy is said to have intimidated Japanese actor Go Ayano (41) and three other people on YouTube between February and September last year.
In February this year, he allegedly threatened Ayano and another person to get them to drop the criminal charges they had filed against him, saying on social media: “Think about how damaging it would be for a celebrity to be in a lawsuit would show up.”
The defendant is accused of five counts, including violating a law punishing physical violence through chronic threats.
However, GaaSyy’s defense attorney denied that his client’s actions were habitual threats.
Prosecutors read Ayano’s statement in which he described GaaSyy as “terrifying” and said the defendant made the actor feel like he was “on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
GaaSyy was once placed on an international wanted list because he was in the United Arab Emirates. On his return in June he was arrested by Japanese police.