Frenchman In Tokyo Ends Hunger Strike Over His ‘Abducted’ Children

For the children allegedly kidnapped by his Japanese wife, a French father goes on hunger strike.



A Frenchman who went on hunger strike in Tokyo seeking access to his children said Friday he had ended his protest to undergo surgery on his finger after a fall.

For three weeks, Vincent Fichot sat outside a train station near the Olympic Stadium in a bid to be reunited with his two children, who he says were abducted by their Japanese mother in 2018.

The 39-year-old former finance worker told AFP he had stopped his hunger strike in order to regain strength ahead of an operation under general anaesthetic.

He said he had fractured his finger in a fall on Wednesday, having lost around 14 kilograms (31 pounds) since he started his protest on July 10 weighing 80 kilograms.

“Thank you everyone for your support. The fight continues,” Fichot tweeted.

Joint custody of children in cases of divorce or separation does not exist legally in Japan, where parental abductions are common and often tolerated by local authorities.

Fichot, who has lived in Japan for 15 years, says his wife accused him in court of domestic violence but later retracted the claim.

The wife’s lawyer refused to comment to AFP earlier this month, only denouncing “biased” media reports.

No official numbers exist, but rights groups have estimated that about 150,000 minors are forcibly separated from a parent every year in Japan.

French President Emmanuel Macron raised the issue with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga last week on a visit to the country to attend the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.

But Fichot, who has not seen his six-year-old son and four-year-old daughter since August 2018, said Macron’s appeal had “changed nothing” about his situation.

Before he called off his protest on Friday, Fichot was visited by a group of 10 ambassadors from EU countries, who expressed support for his cause.

Macron’s advisors, but not the president himself, met Fichot during their short trip to Japan.

French Father Goes On Hunger Strike For Kids ‘Abducted’ By Japanese Wife

For the children allegedly kidnapped by his Japanese wife, a French father goes on hunger strike.



A Frenchman in Japan who says his children were abducted by their Japanese mother began a hunger strike in Tokyo Saturday, in a protest he hopes will bring international attention to his fight to be reunited with his family. 

“I’ve given everything, I’ve lost my job, my house and my savings in the last three years. I weigh 80 kilograms now, and I’ll give it all until the very last gram,” Vincent Fichot told AFP, sitting at the entrance to a train station in Tokyo, not far from the new Olympic stadium.

Fichot, 39, who has lived in Japan for 15 years, said he will not give up his hunger strike until his children, a boy and a girl aged six and four, are returned to him.

Failing that, he said, “I want the French authorities to show me they are serious and that they really want to defend my kids, and that they will impose sanctions against Japan until Japan agrees to protect my children’s rights.”

His wife has accused him in court of domestic violence, Fichot said, but later “retracted” the claim, and the Japanese justice system now has “nothing to reproach me for”, he said.

“I’ve tried everything, I’ve tried to convince my wife by saying to her that it was not good for the kids,” he added. “Right now I don’t even know if they are alive.”

Joint custody of children in cases of divorce or separation does not exist legally in Japan, where parental abductions are common and often tolerated by local authorities.

No official numbers exist, but rights groups have estimated that about 150,000 minors are forcibly separated from a parent every year in the East Asian archipelago.

Among those are some bi-national children, like those of Fichot, who, having hit a brick wall with Japanese authorities, has now turned to the French state and international bodies.

He plans to continue his hunger strike day and night — and says if police chase him away he will go elsewhere.

Members of a Tokyo-based support committee, which includes other foreign parents in the same situation, will bring him water, clothes, and help him charge his electronic devices.

Fichot also plans to post a short daily video on his Facebook page to publicise his situation and keep followers up to date on his physical condition.

French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive in Tokyo at the end of the month to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

During his last visit to the country, Macron spoke out in support of French parents separated from their children in Japan, condemning “situations of distress that are completely unacceptable”.

Jailed Kremlin Critic Navalny Announces Hunger Strike

In this file photo taken on February 20, 2021, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands inside a glass cell during a court hearing at the Babushkinsky district court in Moscow. PHOTO: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP


Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny announced on Wednesday that he has gone on a hunger strike until he receives proper medical treatment for severe back pain and numbness in his legs.

Last week the 44-year-old opposition politician, who is serving a 2.5-year prison sentence in one of Russia’s most notorious penal colonies, said he was suffering from a pinched nerve that had caused his right leg to go numb.

In a post on Instagram on Wednesday, Navalny said that the back pain that had earlier caused his right leg to go numb was causing his left leg to now lose sensitivity too.

“I have gone on a hunger strike demanding that the law be obeyed and that a visiting doctor be allowed to visit me,” he wrote.

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Navalny, who is considered a flight risk by authorities, said last week that he is woken eight times per night by guards announcing to a recording camera that he is still in his cell.

On Wednesday, he said that instead of receiving medical treatment he is continuing to be “tortured with sleep deprivation”.

Navalny was detained in January after returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering for several months from a poisoning attack he says was orchestrated by the Kremlin.

He was last month sent to prison for 2.5 years on old embezzlement charges his allies and Western governments say are politically motivated.


Ex-Georgian President Saakashvili On Hunger Strike After Ukraine Arrest

Supporters of former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, angered at his detention, attend a rally outside a detention centre in Kiev late on December 8, 2017. PHOTO: Genya SAVILOV / AFP

Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has gone on hunger strike to protest his arrest in Ukraine on charges of trying to stage a coup sponsored by Russia, his lawyer and supporters said Saturday.

Kiev police rearrested the foe of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday after an attempt to detain him earlier in the week dramatically failed when supporters swarmed the van where he was being held.

“Saakashvili has announced an indefinite hunger strike,” journalist and close ally Vladimir Fedorin wrote on Facebook, in comments echoed by the former leader’s lawyer Ruslan Chornolutskyi to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

The 49-year-old denounced the “false accusations” against him, Chornolutskyi added.

Around 100 supporters of Saakashvili, the man who pulled Georgia out of Russia’s orbit in a 2003 revolution before becoming a governor in Ukraine, gathered outside a security service detention centre shouting “shame” on Friday following his arrest.

A court hearing on the case is expected be held in Kiev on Monday.

Prosecutors would ask for Saakashvili to be held under pretrial house arrest, prosecutor General spokeswoman Larysa Sargan said.

Since Saakashvili escaped detention on Tuesday he has continued leading protests outside parliament demanding Poroshenko’s impeachment over his failure to fight high-level corruption.

Saakashvili denies committing any crimes and says his actions have been peaceful and legal.

Tuesday’s drama marked the latest chapter in the dizzying career of a man who spearheaded a pro-Western “Rose Revolution” in Georgia in 2003 and fought a disastrous war with Russia five years later that eventually prompted him to flee the Caucasus country.

Saakashvili returned to the spotlight as a vocal champion of the three-month street uprising in Kiev that toppled a Moscow-backed government in 2014 and turned Ukraine on a pro-EU course.

Poroshenko rewarded Saakashvili for his efforts by appointing him governor of the important Black Sea region of Odessa in 2015.

But an ugly falling out between the two men saw Saakashvili stripped of his Ukrainian passport — only for him to defy the authorities and force his way back into the conflict-riven country with the help of supporters in September.