TOKYO – A Paris court has issued an international arrest warrant for the Japanese wife of a French national for alleged abductions after she ran off with their two children and refused to let him see them, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.
The Frenchman, 39-year-old Vincent Fichot, made headlines in summer when he staged a hunger strike near the National Stadium ahead of the Tokyo Olympics to raise awareness of the issue, which Japanese police did not take seriously. French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the matter with then Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during his visit to Japan for the sporting event.
It is one of a number of similar cases involving Japanese spouses. But it is extraordinary for such a case to lead to issuance of an arrest warrant.
The European Parliament last year adopted a resolution calling on Japan to allow European Union citizens to see their children being kept from them by their Japanese spouses.
In Fichot’s case, the two children — a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl — were first taken from the couple’s home in Tokyo in August 2018, according to documents filed about the accusation. The father has not been allowed to see them since.
The French authorities said they have jurisdiction to investigate the case as the children possess French alongside Japanese nationality.
Fichot, who still lives in Tokyo, earlier reported the situation to police. But they did not launch an investigation, saying it is not rare for a wife to run away from home with the children, according to the sources.
It is unclear whether the Japanese side will cooperate with French investigators, as the two countries have no agreement regarding the handover of crime suspects.