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A three-week hunger strike by a Tokyo Frenchman over his 'abducted' children has ended, but the fight goes on.

Andrew Reeve

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TOKYO, Japan (AFP) – On Friday (July 30), a Frenchman who went on a hunger strike in Tokyo to gain access to his children said that he had terminated his protest in order to have surgery on his finger following a mishap.

Mr Vincent Fichot sat at a train station near the Olympic Stadium for three weeks in an attempt to reunite with his two children, whom he claims were kidnapped by their Japanese mother in 2018. The 39-year-old former financial worker told AFP that he had ended his hunger strike to recuperate strength before undergoing surgery under deep anaesthesia. He said he shattered his finger in an accident on Wednesday, after losing 14kg since beginning his protest on July 10 when he weighed 80kg.


Mr Fichot has said; "Thank you all for your help and encouragement. The battle goes on. In Japan, where parental abductions are prevalent and generally supported by local authorities, joint custody of children in circumstances of divorce or separation is not lawful.


Mr Fichot, who has lived in Japan for 15 years, claims that his wife accused him of domestic violence in court but afterwards withdrew his comment. Although no official figures exist, human rights organizations estimate that about 150,000 minors in Japan are forcibly separated from their parents each year.

During a visit to Japan last week to attend the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, French President Emmanuel Macron brought up the subject with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Mr Fichot, though, who hasn't seen his six-year-old son or four-year-old daughter since August 2018, said Mr Macron's appeal had "changed nothing" in his circumstances. Mr Fichot was visited by a delegation of ten ambassadors from EU countries who voiced sympathy for his cause before calling off his protest on Friday.

Source: The Straits Times






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