The 39-year-old Frenchman started his hunger strike on Saturday, two weeks before the opening of the Olympic Games. The latter has not been able to see his children since their abduction by their Japanese mother in 2018.
A Frenchman in Japan, who has not been able to see his children since their kidnapping by their Japanese mother in 2018, went on a hunger strike in Tokyo on Saturday, two weeks before the opening of the Olympics and the arrival of Emmanuel Macron.
“I gave everything, I lost my job, my house and my savings for three years. I still have 80 kilos and I will give them to the last gram,” said Vincent Fichot, sitting on a carpet. ground at the entrance of a Tokyo station, not far from the new Olympic stadium.
This 39-year-old Frenchman, who has lived in Japan for 15 years, assures us that he will not stop his action until he has found his children, a boy and a girl, now 6 and 4.
Otherwise, he wants the French authorities to show him that they “really” want to defend his children and “apply sanctions against Japan”, which he says violates his international obligations.
A common practice in Japan
His wife used the pretext of domestic violence before the judges, but “she withdrew” and today the Japanese judiciary “has nothing to blame me for”, assures Vincent Fichot.
Shared custody of children in the event of divorce does not legally exist in Japan, so parental abduction is a common practice and tolerated by local authorities. There are no official figures, but associations estimate that 150,000 minors are victims every year in the archipelago.
Among them are binational children, such as Vincent Fichot’s, who, after running up against the Japanese authorities and the judiciary, turned to the French judiciary and state, the European authorities and the United Nations.
He plans to go on a hunger strike day and night. If the police chase him away, he plans to move on elsewhere.
“Cry of Despair”
Members of his support committee in Tokyo, including other foreign parents in the same situation, are required to regularly bring him water, clean clothes and charge his electronic devices. He will shower at a nearby gym.
Vincent Fichot also plans to publish a short daily video on his Facebook page, explaining the problem in Japan and providing information about his physical condition.
French President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Tokyo on July 23 and 24, notably to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. In 2019, on his last visit to Japan, he pledged to act on behalf of French parents who no longer had access to their children in Japan, citing “emergencies that are absolutely unacceptable”.
Vincent Fichot’s lawyer in France, Jessica Finelle, said his radical move was “the cry of despair of a father who spent three years trying everything to find his children”.
Vincent Fichot is part of a group of ten fathers and mothers of four different nationalities who filed a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2019. At the end of 2020, a judicial investigation was also opened in France for the deduction of minors targeting his wife.
“But today we need important diplomatic acts”, such as the recall of the French ambassador to Japan or the suspension of the “strategic partnership agreement” concluded between Japan and the European Union and which has just been ratified by France, insisted Me Finelle . “Only concrete actions can force the Japanese authorities to respond.”