Japanese 'baby factory' dad wins custody of 13 Thai surrogate children

Thai court hands surrogate kids to Japanese father

A wealthy Japanese man was on Tuesday granted "sole parent" rights to 13 children he fathered through Thai surrogate mothers, in a court ruling that paves the way for him to take custody of them in Japan.

Shigeta is the son of an owner of a Japanese company and earns over 100 million baht (US$3.1 million) in annual dividends, which shows he is financially capable of looking after the children, the court said in a statement. It was one of several cases that led to the country banning foreigners using surrogate mothers in Thailand.

He reportedly hired many Thai women to bear his children in 2014.

Multimillionaire Mitsutoki Shigeta, 27, caused an worldwide incident in 2014 when Thai police found nine of his biological kids living with nannies in a plush Bangkok apartment.

The man claimed he fathered the children through surrogates, and submitted DNA test results to a Bangkok court so that he could take the children back to Japan.

The court also found that the man, who currently lives in Japan, plans to bring all his children - now around 4 years old - to his home country where it says he plans to enroll them in an global school and open bank accounts for them.

The man's lawyer explains his motivation for wanting so many children as "personal and business reasons".

"Therefore, it is ruled that all the 13 children are legal children of the petitioner. and the petitioner is their sole guardian".

The court also said Shigeta had opened bank accounts in Singapore for all 13 children whose custody he was awarded yesterday. "He was born in a big family, so he wants his children to grow up together".

Shigeta paid surrogate mothers around $10,000 each for carrying the fertilized donor eggs in their wombs.

An investigation later found he had fathered 19 children in total, 13 surrogate babies living in Thailand and six others living in Cambodia and Japan, according to an official from Thailand's Social Development and Welfare Department.

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