Former Japanese lawmaker and YouTuber GaaSyy admitted to online intimidation against celebrities during his first trial hearing on 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 at the Tokyo District Court, saying, "I am sorry that my acts have caused huge psychological pain and economic damage (to the victims)."

GaaSyy. (Kyodo)

GaaSyy became a popular YouTuber, posting videos about celebrity scandals on his channel. He was stripped of his status as a lawmaker in March by the House of Councillors for not attending any sessions since being elected in July last year.

According to the written indictment, GaaSyy allegedly intimidated Japanese actor Go Ayano, 41, and three other individuals on YouTube between February and September last year.

In February this year, he allegedly threatened Ayano and another individual to make them drop their criminal complaints filed against him, saying through social media, "Think how critically damaging it would be for a celebrity to show up in a trial."

The defendant has been charged with five counts, including violating a law on the punishment of physical violence by chronic threatening.

GaaSyy's defense lawyer, however, denied that his client's actions amounted to habitual threats.

Prosecutors read Ayano's statement, which described GaaSyy as "terrifying," and said the defendant made the actor feel "on the verge of a mental breakdown."

GaaSyy was placed on an international wanted list at one point, as he was staying in the United Arab Emirates. Japanese police arrested him upon his return in June.

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