A former banker at financial holding Nomura who quit his job to go on a hunger strike near the Olympic stadium in Tokyo hopes his health will be dangerously compromised when world leaders meet for the opening ceremonies next week. .
Vincent Fichot, a 39-year-old Frenchman who was once a great specialist in derivatives, began his hunger strike last week in an all-or-nothing bet to gain access to his young children.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Fichot said he hoped his hunger strike would result in action by French President Emmanuel Macron, who is due to attend the Olympics opening ceremony on July 23.
When the Olympic torch is lit, said Fichot, who has sold his property in central Tokyo and lives on a yoga mat outside Sendagaya station, his body will enter an extremely dangerous state. This will leave Macron very little time to keep his promise to take the case to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
“It’s not desperation. It’s a calculated act. I may not be able to force Japan to do one thing, but I can force France to do something for me,” Fichot said. “They can’t let me die here.”
Fichot was accompanied on a daily basis by other parents – Japanese and foreign – who are struggling against a system they claim was stealing their children. Their protest, which takes place a few hundred yards from the stadium for more effect, follows a failed three-year battle with the Japanese legal system and what many like-minded parents have condemned as needlessly policy. outdated.
Japan’s separation and divorce proceedings, which Fichot and others say are out of step with those in other developed countries, fail to recognize the concept of shared custody. This position, experts say, combined with the high probability that the courts will only grant custody to the parent looking after the children at the time of cases, prompts one parent to “kidnap” the children before the divorce. .
When the divorce is pronounced, the father with the child is no longer obliged to grant the other right of access. Informal support groups claim that tens of thousands of children have been unfairly separated from their fathers or mothers by the intransigence of the Japanese system.
Fichot, who was in the process of getting divorced, said he had no idea when he went to work at Nomura Otemachi’s headquarters on August 10, 2018, that upon his return he would not be reunited with his wife and children – then 3 years and 11 months old.
In addition to direct efforts to access children through the courts, Fichot also lobbied international organizations, including the UN. Last July, after Fichot’s campaign, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the kidnapping and calling on the Japanese government to modernize its justice system and enforce international rules on child protection.
Translated by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves