Japan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday ordered a popular online personality and former lawmaker, currently residing overseas and known as GaaSyy, to return his passport after police obtained an arrest warrant for him over celebrity defamation threat allegations.
Tokyo police plan to put the 51-year-old, whose real name is Yoshikazu Higashitani, on an international wanted list through the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, according to investigative sources.
The police have asked the ministry to confiscate his passport after obtaining the warrant on March 16. The travel document will become void unless it is returned by the end of April 13.
GaaSyy became a popular YouTuber by posting videos about celebrity scandals on his channel. He was stripped of his status as a lawmaker earlier this month by the House of Councillors for not attending any sessions since being elected last year.
GaaSyy allegedly threatened three people, including actor Go Ayano, in YouTube videos. He is additionally suspected of interfering with the business activities of one of the three people, the sources said.
Police obtained the arrest warrant just one day after he lost his elected seat after he ignored repeated requests from authorities that he return to Japan and voluntarily submit himself to questioning over the videos.
He has lived in the United Arab Emirates since before the upper house election in July 2022, when he won his seat.
GaaSyy appears to have deactivated his YouTube channel but continues to make posts on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.