By ALLIE SIMON
In Bangkok, Thailand, Mitsutoki Shigeta, a Japanese man nicknamed the “baby factory,” has won the paternity rights to 13 of the babies he has fathered via Thai surrogate mothers.
In 2014, Shigeta revealed to have fathered 16 babies through surrogacy. He won the paternity rights of three of the children in a 2015 trial.
According to strong research by BBC News South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head, an airport security photo from more than three years ago that showed Shigeta holding a baby as he was leaving Thailand, caused concern about his motives for leaving the country. Shigeta was investigated by Thai police for possible human trafficking, as he had already taken some of his children to Cambodia.
Further investigation by the Japanese government and a statement from Shigeta’s lawyer has since revealed that he is the son of a wealthy entrepreneur and is merely looking to expand his family.
Details about Shigeta’s life are very secretive and there is hardly any information about him that is public, besides for the fact that he owns several companies and has set up trust funds for his children. BBC shares that according to several “sources,” Shigeta has been moving around through Asia frequently and could have even fathered children in India and Ukraine.
BBC does not convince the audience that Shigeta should have won the paternity rights, but merely shines a light on the kind of questionable activity that Asian authorities are letting occur.
According to BBC, Shigeta’s Bangkok apartment was raided during a crackdown on commercial surrogacy and nine surrogate babies, nannies, and a pregnant surrogate mother were found. The Thai police seized Shigeta’s 13 children, leading to an investigation and Shigeta filing for sole custody.
According to Thailand’s Central Juvenile and Family Court, Shigeta earns the American equivalent of more than $3 million a year and has enough caretakers and resources to take care of his 16 children.
The reporting on this case is questionable, as is the decision to let Shigeta have sole custody of his 16 children. Despite this, the Thai government has found evidence that he should have paternal rights of the children, according to BBC.