Prosecutors demanded a four-year prison sentence on Thursday for former lawmaker GaaSyy over allegations of repeatedly intimidating celebrities in online videos.

At a hearing at the Tokyo District Court, the prosecutors said that GaaSyy's intimidation "symbolizes the problem of online defamation and is extremely malicious," while the defense sought a suspended sentence. A ruling is set to be handed down on March 14.

GaaSyy, 52, whose real name is Yoshikazu Higashitani, is accused of repeatedly making threats against actor Go Ayano, 42, and others on videos posted online. The former member of the House of Councilors, the upper chamber of Japan's parliament, is charged with violating the physical violence punishment law.

"I have been slandered for something that is not true, and its effects, such as the termination of advertising contracts, will continue," Ayano said in a statement read out by the prosecution. "I demand a strict punishment."

The habitual nature of GaaSyy's intimidation is clear, prosecutors said, adding that he repeatedly made threats by releasing videos attacking people he disapproved of.

"There are concerns about an increase in copycat crimes as he created a trend that made slander entertainment," they said, also referring to over ¥100 million in revenue he earned by releasing videos.

The defense argued that the physical violence punishment law is designed to crack down on members of criminal organizations, and that it is not in line with the spirit of the law to charge GaaSyy with violating it.

"I am sorry for causing anxiety and fear to victims and others," the defendant said. "I promise not to do it again."

According to the indictment, GaaSyy threatened Ayano and others in YouTube videos between around February and August 2022.