21 February, 2018
A Thai court yesterday granted legal custody of 13 babies carried by surrogate mothers to a Japanese millionaire who is their biological father, reviving a weird tale that captured tabloid headlines four years ago. The man was awarded custody of his other three children in 2015.
The court said that DNA evidence confirmed Shigeta is the children's' father, and that he plans to send the kids 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 a sufficient number of nurses and nannies.
The court ruling said Shigeta had a right to custody because the children were born before the new law, and because the surrogate mothers waived their custody rights.
Shigeta, dubbed "baby factory" man, had made headlines in 2014 when it was found that he had fathered 16 babies via surrogates in Thailand.
His case had contributed to the banning of commercial surrogacy in Thailand.More news: Spurs: Kane injured against Juventus, Lucas Moura set for first start
"For the happiness and opportunities the 13 children will receive from their biological father - who does not have a history of bad [behavior] - the court rules them to be the plaintiff's legal children", Thailand's Central Juvenile Court said in a statement. The children that he cared for in Japan now all have Japanese citizenship, it said.
The children were estimated to be between two weeks and two years old at the time and have since been under the care of the Thai state, while another four were later deemed to have been fathered by him.
Shigeta, reportedly the son of a Japanese IT tycoon, left the country in the wake of the scandal and has never directly explained why he fathered so many children. He was given the "sole parent" rights after the Thai surrogates surrendered their.
Shigeta's mother has also been visiting the children in Thailand and "they have got used to her", he added. Police told AFP that he had paid the Thai surrogate mothers between $9,300 and $12,500 each.