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Desperate French father forced to end 21-day hunger strike in Tokyo after injury

Vincent Fichot ended his hunger strike near Tokyo Olympic Stadium. (ANJ photo)
Vincent Fichot ended his hunger strike near Tokyo Olympic Stadium. (ANJ photo)
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31 Jul 2021 02:07:51 GMT9
31 Jul 2021 02:07:51 GMT9

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: Vincent Fichot, who has been on a hunger strike for three weeks in an effort to try and get to see his “abducted” children, is leaving his post at Sendagaya Station near Tokyo Olympic Stadium in order to have surgery on a broken finger.

Fichot suffered the injury when he fainted on July 28 after nearly 20 days without food.

“When I fainted on Wednesday and fractured my finger, I thought it could be an easy fix,” Fichot posted on his Facebook page. “Unfortunately, I got the news today that it will require a surgery and the insert of a titanium plate in my finger with full anesthesia. I’m extremely disappointed.”

Fichot decided to go on a very public hunger strike, having exhausted all other remedies as he seeks to be reunited with his children. His wife took the children away suddenly three years ago and he hasn’t seen them since. He is still married and under Japanese law, he has all the rights of a father, but Japan’s courts have failed to force his wife to allow Fichot to see his kids.

In Japan, separations are very often sudden and seemingly irreversible. It is estimated around 150,000 children are separated from a parent each year. Fichot has been told that if he tries to exercise his rights as a father, he will be liable to prosecution.

For now, his hunger strike is over, but he vows the fight will continue.

“When I started this hunger strike 21 days ago, my aim was to get to a critical health condition to demonstrate to the authorities how much pain our children are going through and trigger the return of Kaede and Tsubasa,” Fichot said. “Beyond the feeling of failing my children, I have met so many people who are supporting our children and I am convinced that together we will put an end to the violations of our children rights committed by the Japanese authorities.”

Before the hunger strike ended, nine European ambassadors, including the French ambassador, came on Friday to express their support. Fichot also met with staff of French President Emmanuel Macron, who said he raised the issue with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, although France has taken no action to support Fichot or his children, who are French citizens.

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