Vincent Fichot believes not very, stating that it’s nothing more than “window dressing”
JUNE 24, 2022
UPDATED ON JUNE 24, 2022
Reports by the Mainichi Shimbun and Nikkei daily on Monday revealed that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is preparing a joint custody proposal for divorced couples with children in Japan. It sounds like great news at last for parents like Vincent Fichot who hasn’t seen his kids since August 2018. Or is it? The French father of two doesn’t think so. On Thursday we spoke to the man who went on a hunger strike last year to hear his thoughts on the MOJ’s proposal as well as two other proposals that have been presented to the government.
Also this week, we report on the latest blow to the LGBTQ community as the Osaka District Court rules that the ban on same-sex marriage in Japan is not unconstitutional. There’s an even bigger blow for the family of Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali as charges against immigration officials who worked at the center where she died are dropped. The Japanese yen continues to tumble and a woman in Belgium is elected mayor in a district in Tokyo. In sport, Hideki Matsuyama places fourth at the US Open and Tenshin Nasukawa finishes his kickboxing career in style.
“The Devil is in the Details”
On Monday came the news that the MOJ is preparing a proposal to introduce a joint custody system for divorced parents in Japan. It sounds like a major potential breakthrough, but what does it actually mean? According to Vincent Fichot, not very much. “The devil is in the details,” the French father tells TW. “It’s just window dressing to appease critics from abroad. They’ve come up with a ’selective joint custody system’ that attempts to legitimize current practices. For instance, if one parent claims there was a ‘major conflict,’ the judge can turn down joint custody.
“The proposal also fails to address child abduction,” continues Fichot. “It says child visitation should be supervised, going against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and allows a parent to request sole custody while married without the other parent’s knowledge.” Dissatisfied with the MOJ’s version, the Bipartisan Parliamentary League drafted its own proposal on Tuesday. It was influenced by another proposal submitted two weeks ago by Japanese and foreign lawyers to Sanae Takaichi, minister of internal affairs and communications. “Both proposals focus on the best interests of the children and request retroactivity, which is essential for those still waiting for custody,” says Fichot.