Japanese 'baby factory' father gets custody of 13 children

Mitsutoki Shigeta the scion of a Japanese telecom billionaire fled Thailand soon after a police raid on a Lat Phrao condo discovered many babies stored there

"The petitioner is an heir and president of a well-known company listed in a stock exchange in Japan, owner and shareholder in many companies, and receives dividend of more than 100 million baht ($3.18 million) from a single company in a year, which shows the petitioner has professional stability and an ample income to raise all the children", a statement from the court read.

According to the court, Shigeta has given assurances that he will prepare adequate certified nurses and nannies for all the children.

A Thai court has ruled in favour of a wealthy Japanese man who fathered 13 surrogate children through Thai mothers, naming him their legal parent and sole guardian.

It said DNA evidence confirmed that Shigeta is the children's' father, and that he plans to send the children to an global school and has bought a piece of land to house them next to a large park in central Tokyo, where they will be looked after by nurses and nannies.

"Therefore, it is ruled that all the 13 children are legal children of the petitioner. and the petitioner is their sole guardian". They were subsequently cared for by the Thai state, while another four infants were deemed also to have been fathered by the same man.

Officials from Thailand's social development and human security ministry told the court they had visited places where the man meant to raise the kids and "everything looks good", Kyodo reported.

A photo taken in 2014 showing Thai nannies with nine of the babies that are believed to have been fathered by Japanese man Mitsutoki Shigeta.

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Shigeta hired the Thai surrogates before the kingdom banned the lucrative trade in 2015, following a string of scandals and custody tussles.

On another, a Thai woman refused to let a foreigner take the custody of a baby girl, "Carmens", whom she gave birth to via surrogacy.

Shigeta, son of billionaire businessman Yasumitsu Shigeta, said through his lawyers that he simply wanted a big family, the AP reported.

"It is clear that my client has nothing to do with human trafficking and no criminal charges have been pressed against him", the man's lawyer said, thanking the court for giving the utmost consideration to the children's happiness and welfare during its deliberations.

Surrogacy agencies quickly migrated to neighbouring Cambodia, who followed suit and barred the industry in 2016.

In recent months there have been signs the business is growing in Laos, an opaque communist country with no restrictions on surrogacy. Some surrogacy agencies are now offering services to carry out the embryo transfer in Laos and then provide pregnancy care for the surrogate in Thailand, a wealthier country with vastly superior medical facilities.

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