BANGKOK: A Japanese millionaire has been given legal custody of 13 children he fathered through surrogate mothers in Thailand. 27 year old Mitsutoki Shigeta of Thailand's infamous “baby factory” scandal, hit headlines when police authorities found nine infants living with their nannies in an upmarket Bangkok apartment in 2014. A DNA test has found him to be the biological father of the nine children and four others that were born by surrogates in Thailand.
While the son of a Japanese tycoon, had left the country three-and-a-half-years, he later sued Thailand's Ministry of Social Development and Human Security for custody of the children. “For the happiness and opportunities which the 13 children will receive from their biological father, who does not have a history of bad behaviour, the court rules that all 13 born from surrogacy to be legal children of the plaintiff,” Bangkok's Central Juvenile Court said in a statement. Shigeta, who wasn't physically present in the trial, was deemed “sole parent” of the children after the Thai surrogates signed their rights away.
The court said that as he comes from a wealthy family, he has ample money and has prepared nurses and nannies to care for the children in Japan. Shigeta's lawyer has said that he would contact the Social Welfare Ministry, who took care of the children since the scandal broke in 2014, about the next steps in transferring them from state custody. He had hired Thai surrogates before the kingdom banned the trade in 2015, following a slew of scandals and custody battles.