Take our user survey and make your voice heard.

Frenchman in Tokyo ends hunger strike over his 'abducted' children


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2021 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

The Japanese government’s antiquated ideas have dodged another bullet. This time, due to a finger.

24 ( +26 / -2 )

You did your best, M. Fichot. At least, you called more attention to a critical family issue,

- “French Pres Emmanuel Macron raised the issue with JPM Suga but 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 advisers, but not the president himself, met Fichot during their short trip to Japan.” -

34 ( +35 / -1 )

Good luck to him.

It is unfair that a parent with no criminal history or issues is denied any relationship with his children. In the end the children will lose out the most.

35 ( +38 / -3 )

There is a gender gap in Japan where wives are more likely to have custody.

21 ( +21 / -0 )


the J strategy in a nutshell; Just look away until it/he/whateveritwas goes away. It’s a game of attrition and we do Gaman better than anyone on the planet. We are however, sorry for your plight, but it ends there.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Vincent Fichot, he made his point, a genuine heartfelt cry for help?

That finger needs to be in a splint, after surgery.

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.

Vincent Fichot, will have to sooner or later accept, the culture will rightly or wrongly, ultimately prevail.

This should never have been subject to broadcast media, a closed court should have granted Fichot access under strict guidelines, and with social services in attendance.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

The Japanese government’s antiquated ideas have dodged another bullet. This time, due to a finger.

The government certainly deserves a finger for this issue.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

So many guys come here, marry someone they can barely communicate with, and have kidz knowing full well what happens when you get divorced here.

I am from Japan but pretty much decided against that route early.

With the perfect person, maybe, but its quite a risky route, especially since most of these couples dont even speak the others language fluently.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Go on Vincent. You are hero ! You are changing Japan and with it the world. Not being able to see your own children is not normal. They are wrong you are right !

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Wishing Vincent Fichot a safe operation and godspeed in being reunited with his children.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

In a society where there seem to be bad-parenting stories in the news every day, I salute this man for his devotion to his children. It's something we need a lot more of.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

This is such a sad situation. The woman likely has mental issues to make false statements to the police and runoff with the kids.

She probably told her kids their father abandon them. Not sure what other explanation she would offer them. The kids are the victims here and when they get older, they will hopefully find out what happened.

14 ( +15 / -1 )


There are some very positive points to not speak the same language fluently as your spouse. Think about it.

By the way, does this guy know where his kids are? Easy to hide in Japan, but hiring someone can do a lot of good in a search effort.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

By the way, does this guy know where his kids are? Easy to hide in Japan, but hiring someone can do a lot of good in a search effort.

Then after he finds them, a squad car will be ready to pick him up.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This whole issue lacks the viewpoint from Children. When you were very small, haven't you worried so much

when your pap and mom were in trouble?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Congratulations to Vincent for a fine protest, and I wish him well with his health.

He was visited several times by other victims of denial of visitation in Japan, including a group of about twenty mothers and the Australian man who spend two months (!!!) in police cells simply for being allowed through the autolock door into the lobby of an apartment building. Some people kill others with reckless driving or steal huge sums and still get less time in custody than that.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Imagine the outrage If a man had abducted his kids! It would get a lot more coverage than this.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Although none of us commenters really know what went on in this situation, I have every sympathy for this guy. When the children become curious about their father or try to find their father, he has created this history that can be searched by the kids if they just type his name. Therefore, in this case at least, her strategy has a good chance of backfiring if what he claims is true...

10 ( +11 / -1 )

So, an unproven retracted comment allows one parent to trample on the right of the other to see their offspring?

Japan is in the dark ages!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

He is and must remain a symbol for all other foreigners victim of the same situation.

The japanese side can claim anything, the pattern is always the same and too many exceptions to the international parental child abduction law are made by this same country.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Good News, glad to see him doing well. I am hoping that his Ex will have the empathy to work things out between them so they can both enjoy their kids.

Remember when the kids grow up they will judge you and act accordingly, so be good boys and girls.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )


While I have to agree that there must be good things, I think the bad outweighs it.

I dont think you can get to know the other as well.

Also (just like in my family) the kidz usually end up speaking Japanese and not being able to communicate with the foreign parent after a certain age.

It becomes a hybrid of bad Japanese and even worse Engrish.

I say no thanks

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The line often parroted around on the Japanese side of this issue, about "the child always being better off with the mother" is pretty disingenuous.

I used to live in a typical apartment block. Next door were a married couple with two kids. For whatever reason, the husband ceased to be around. Don't know if it was a divorce, 単身赴任, or something else.

What I do know is from that point on, we would regularly hear uninhibited screaming coming from the other side of the wall, directed from the mother to her kids.

Of course when we met them in the vicinity, she was all smiles and polite greetings. But she would have been 100 per cent aware that not only us, but half the block, could hear her.

I don't have kids myself, so I can't claim to understand what this French guy is going through, but I can easily believe that there are some psycho moms out there.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I have two children and have fortunately always gotten along (more or less) with my wife. They're both adults now so can - and do - whatever they want, but if I had been in Mr. Fichot's position, some serious hell would have come raining down. I admire him for his restraint.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Vincent Fichot needed top legal representation, costs, provided from the French Government, the ten ambassadors from EU countries, who expressed support for his cause. Meaningless, did any of the ten actually offer financial support........NO!

What support? Nothing but lip service.

Vincent Fichot fundamental error, day one, is going on hunger strike.

Politicians will just weight up the pro and con of supporting him , then walk away.

Vincent Fichot, is his own worst enemy, sorry to be so blunt.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Vincent Fichot needed the full support of the EU diplomatic service, they walked away why??

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I have met many guys from different countries living in Japan who are in the same situation .. it's really sad ..they always accuse foreign men of being violent this is not new.. .. I also know women with Japanese men in the same situation.. the thing is .. the Japanese law supports Japanese so they will always take your kids away from you ... I've lived here for 16 years and I'm fed up to hear thousands of stories like that ...

Now these days I see more foreigners in Japan saying if I marry a Japanese I won't have children because I know horrible stories..

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I knew Macron would be useless.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Vincent Fichot choose to being an activist, on hunger strike, outside a Tokyo tube station, in a pandemic, when the J Government, and the IOC are promoting a sports festival, and you think for one minute, Vincent Fichot would win friends and influence people.

Macron hung him out to starve.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Wasn’t much to ask @P.Smith 9:19p for a ‘reasonable outcome’ was it? At least, the truth wasn’t censored by the locals.

- “He went to the police and received help that resulted in a reasonable outcome. He said, “I don’t understand all the foreigners who say the police won’t help.” -

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As much as I sympathize with Mr Fichot, his action does not mean much in this Planet of Japan. Good lesson for those planning to marry Japanese ladies.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Well done Sir you have made your point and I sincerely hope that you get access to your children soon. Glad you didn't die.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In cases of international marriage, i think they need to produce set laws, what is happening to Vincent and thousand and thousands of others is shocking,

but i always imagine the otherside imagine a spouse taking your child overseas and how difficult it would be to try and get your children back, if you were scared that could happen would you not run?

I know for one if i thought my wife would do or even possibly that, i would definitely strike first and get out of dodge with our child.

Trust is massive and once its gone its pretty much open war, the downside of thats means playing with your childrens life and its simply awful.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cowardly Emmanuel Macron won't do anything, just lip service.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This guy had no intent of dying for his children

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Good lesson for those planning to marry Japanese ladies.

And perhaps a good lesson for Japanese ladies planning to marry foreign gentlemen.

These articles are frustrating as we don't get to know the full story. Maybe the wife is evil; maybe the husband is a psychopath; and probably neither of these things.

As kennyG above says, this whole issue lacks the viewpoint from Children. To me that is the only thing that should matter.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Who took the stars from the skies,and put them in Japanese women beautiful eyes,lots of foreigners are looking for a docile Japanese woman,i am not saying Japanese women are docile,lots of guy will say anything to a woman ,for a roll in the sack

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I find it hard to believe that someone who is so spiteful and vindictive as to harm her own children by depriving them of time with their father just to "get back" at him didn't show these tendencies before marriage. Today's to tip.... Don't marry someone with the mental maturity of a five year old.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I find it hard to believe that someone who is so spiteful and vindictive as to harm her own children by depriving them of time with their father just to "get back" at him didn't show these tendencies before marriage. 

How do you know that his ex-wife is "spiteful and vindictive"? We don't know anything about her. Not one thing.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Easy to side with him based on these articles but would like to hear the wife's side of the story before passing judgement.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Dear Japan,

Pleas do something about this Children Custody Laws.

When parents have kids they share the basic right to raise and be with these kids for the rest of their lives married or divorced, it is any parent basic human right to see and partner with their children.

Japan is violating this basic human right by allowing mostly mothers to have custody, it harms all involved, it deprives the children from their basic human right to be with their parents and have a NORMAL childhood.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@YrralToday  03:36 am JST

Who took the stars from the skies,and put them in Japanese women beautiful eyes,lots of foreigners are looking for a docile Japanese woman,i am not saying Japanese women are docile,lots of guy will say anything to a woman ,for a roll in the sack

taken ya meds yet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The frequency with which this happens should lead onto all non-Japanese partners asking for a standard pre-nup type agreement around sharing children. If this is an occurrence that effects a fixed percentage every year then why take a chance ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan, where parental abductions are common and often tolerated by local authorities.

If this doesn't turn your stomach, I question your humanity.

We've come a long way though. Years ago we couldn't even talk about this topic because it was taboo. Japan didn't want to get exposed. But now, every once in a while, we see these articles about japan's international child abduction problem.

The pain that japan causes thousands and thousands of people is unbearable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good to see that at least at this point this did not have lethal consequnces, too bad that the attention he gathered for the problem was minimal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why the quotes around "abducted"? This is a clear case of child kidnapping that would warrant a quick police response in any other developped country.

Japan has been disrepecting Child Human Rights, as defined in UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child, since it ratified that treaty in 1994.

According to UN's CRC, children have a fundamental Human Right to acces directly and regularly both their parents. This is not a matter of opinion but an Universal and Unalienable principle.

This Children's Right of visitation is true before, during, and after a separation/divorce.

By not enforcing this basic Child Right, by keeping its laws that incite and reward Parental Abductions, and by not enforcing Judical visitation decision, Japan is a major and frequent Child Right violator.

It is estimated that each year, there are 150,000 to 200,000 new victims of Japan's systematic Human Right violations.

In 2019, Japan's Minister of Justice cynicaly said that UN's CRC is "non-binding", and that EU's Parliament Resolution denoucing the systemic violations of Child Rights in Japan is "unfunded", thus showing the clear intent to disregard the treaty it promised to respect, and that Japan is in contempt of the international community.

There is a complaint against Japan pending at the Human Right Council of the UN initiated by parents whose children are having their Human Rights violated.

It is now also necessary for foreign states to seize the International Court of Justice, as it is unacceptable for Japan to continue dismissing its duty to respect UN's CRC.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JsapcToday 09:13 am JST

I find it hard to believe that someone who is so spiteful and vindictive as to harm her own children by depriving them of time with their father just to "get back" at him didn't show these tendencies before marriage. 

How do you know that his ex-wife is "spiteful and vindictive"? We don't know anything about her. Not one thing.

Good point. I was going on the husband's version of events but as others have pointed out, I'm sure hers is different.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 60 comments in this thread provide interesting and ample evidence of the complexity of this situation flying over the heads of many. For one thing, this is not a problem that befalls international marriages any more than it does marriages between two Japanese nationals - thousands of Japanese parents are discarded in like manner by their Japanese spouses every year. For another, both members of a divorcing couple usually have the good sense to avoid the family courts altogether. That means it's only situations where one member of the couple is NOT open to compromise, that reach the family courts - but that is also true in most European countries. The main difference is that European countries have societies that would equate depriving a child of one of its parental attachment bonds with child deprivation, if not outright abuse, including acknowledging that it is also severe abuse of the discarded parent.

For some societal reasons, not least the patriarchal-matriarchal specializations that practically don't exist UNTIL you become a parent, but emerge as virtually sacrosanct once you do, mothers rule the roost, or sometimes grandmothers. In addition, a great deal of shame attaches to divorce UNLESS you present yourself as the innocent victim. It follows that practically all family court cases involve either the mother alleging domestic abuse from her spouse to herself, or the father alleging domestic abuse from his spouse to their child. No matter what either party alleges, whichever party first abducted the child is the party that gets to keep the child. It should be noted that whether mother or father, it is quite common for a dominant grandparent to be egging their now adult-child on. The family court is not interested in investigating domestic abuse claims - a point not lost on those making false accusations. The family court has no powers to enforce visitation, or residential transfer. Their only concern is to prevent a dangerous physical incident (hence non-molestation and stalking laws) and to prevent the child from falling into poverty (hence mandatory child support, deductible at earnings source if not paid). The target for the abducting parent is to prevent any contact between the child(ren) and the discarded parent for 8 weeks. No matter if you have raised your children for 10 YEARS, all it takes is 8 WEEKS of silence for the 'CONTINUITY RULE' to take effect. This ludicrously anoints the abductor as the sole adult with parental responsibility, and frames any 'forced' visitation or change of residence as an unacceptable disturbance to the 'status quo' (Yes! Of only 8 weeks!).

Several comments have pointed out that we know nothing about the mother in this case. I really like those comments because they illustrate exactly the plight of the abducted children - who now know only their mother's version of events. Even so, as adults I disagree with those posters. There are substantial implications that can be drawn about this person - not least her utter silence no matter her (ex) co-parent's obvious distress. It's worth noting that although shared parenting hugely hinders the alienation of a spouse (by a spouse), it does not completely prevent it. Even in the USA and the UK it is possible for a spouse to be discarded and alienated. Japan's blanket single-custody only system makes it difficult to determine whether Vincent and his children are victims of simply "divorce- Japanese Style", or victims of the same type of psychological abuse that characterizes such cases in Europe, Australia, the UK, and the USA. In those cases, closer examination of what appears to be an implacably hostile couple (it takes two to tango), reveal the dynamic to be conciliatory on the part of one spouse, while being conflict-seeking on the part of the other (it only takes one partner to ruin the tango). This is not a couple where transient stresses (no money this month) occasionally erupt as a push or a shove, this is a couple where one person has jockeyed themself into a more powerful position and is relishing being abusive (having a child, for example, enormously tilts the playing field). This behavior amounts to nothing less than intimate partner terrorism. There are a couple of issues with this that bewilder nearly everybody and as with any heinous crime, the first issue concerns MOTIVE. The second issue concerns the children's abject acquiescence.

When it comes to finding a motive for this behavior, bear in mind that you have already been diverted to imagine that any parent alienating his/her spouse must have a very good reason for taking such substantial action. Inevitably the subject of domestic abuse, violence, and great fear of more and greater violence are what grip our concerns. Hold on a minute! Oughtn't these matters to be referred to the criminal court? The thing is, no criminal court could wield judicial punishment as severe as alienating you and your child from one another. In any case, criminal court has not done you the huge favor of abrogating due process. In the family court, you don't even pursue a conviction! What you pursue is a finite resource, knowing that the greater proportion of residence/custody you accrue, the less remains for your ex. Moreover, the less time your ex gets to spend with your child, the more he/she will have to pay you in child support. This points you to the ultimate goal of complete alienation of your ex - depriving them of the status of 'regarded spouse', 'loving parent', and dependable involved provider - almost a complete removal of their identity. But how could your conscience allow you to do such a thing? I comes down to opportunism (money, elevated parent status, a new romantic opportunity, or resentment of your ex). In a certain proportion of cases, what is at play is another factor - a personality disorder (narcissistic, borderline, histrionic) that further fuels resentments because of it makes those people susceptible to delusions, and because those conditions have marked empathy deficits, eliminating the self-restraint that good-conscience would usually provide. It's possible that Vincent's ex is just such a person. That's not just bad news for Vincent. It risks serious and irreversible damage to Vincent's children as their 'only' parent has skewed perceptions that will bear heavily on their developmental progression.

Which brings us to the second bewildering aspect of this type of abuse- the acquiescence of the children. Much as children appear to have developed characters they are nevertheless a work in progress, going through several phases of development featuring states of high flux and susceptibility to undue influence. In addition, these kids are debilitated, totally dependent, and dread being abandoned. They are also isolated, and subject to extreme undue influence. If the alienating parent is prepared to alienate, they must have a level of resentment that exudes from them into an atmosphere that those children have no choice but to breathe and imbibe. These children will come to believe everything their alienating parent tells them. The family court will eventually resolve the matter by assessing the children's 'wishes and feelings', but by then their minds will have been turned not only into allegiance with their 'one' parent, but they will genuinely have come to believe a revisionist history of their other parent- the one they hardly have any accurate memory of at all.

So, I thank Vincent. And my heart goes out to him and to his two children.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Please go home.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well... that went well

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites