Sendagaya station, two countries away from the Tokyo National Stadium which will host the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital on July 23, has become the heart of the demands of those who wish to see their children “abducted” by their spouse after separation. On Wednesday July 14, the municipal councilor of the district of Shibuya, Ken Suda, even made the trip.
He came to support the Frenchman Vincent Fichot, who began a hunger strike in front of the entrance to the station on July 10, the last resort to see his children “kidnapped” by his Japanese wife. Installed in the Archipelago for fifteen years, the 39-year-old former trader has not seen his son and daughter, aged 6 and 4, since 2018. “The last time was on the morning of August 10. My son didn’t want me to go. I told him I was going to work and that we would play tonight. When I returned from work, my wife had left with the two children. The house was empty. “
Then begins for him a judicial marathon which forces him to fight, until the Supreme Court, to dismantle the accusations of domestic violence formulated by his wife – “She subsequently retracted” – and try to see his children again. The judges rejected his claims and forced him to pay alimony of 560,000 yen (4,300 euros) per month to his partner. Even if he retains parental authority, he does not have the right to approach his children. “Otherwise, I risk going to jail. ” He doesn’t even know where his family is.
Nearly 150,000 similar cases in the country
The support he receives in France from the law firm Zimeray & Finelle, which defends nine other foreign parents in the same situation in Japan, and has started actions at the UN, at European level and in court de grande instance de Paris, has not changed the situation. As is the request made by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, in 2019, to the then Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe (2012-2020), after a meeting with Mr. Fichot and several fathers in the same case.
Without recourse, Vincent Fichot sold his house, quit his job. His hunger strike is supposed to take advantage of Japan’s international exposure during the Tokyo Olympics to make his voice heard. He is installed in front of the Sendagaya station and hopes for an initiative from Mr. Macron, expected for this ceremony. “My children are also French citizens. France must do something ”, explains the one who says he is ready to go all the way. “I will leave here with my children or between four boards. “
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