The Japanese millionaire heir who won custody of 13 children he fathered through surrogate mothers in Thailand had a dream of having ‘1,000 babies’.
Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, had hatched a plan to produce a big family, after which he would run in an election and win by letting his children vote for him, Japanese media reports.
Shigeta caused a ‘baby factory’ scandal in 2014 after Thai police found nine infants living with their nannies in an upmarket Bangkok apartment.
Big plans: Japanese telecoms heir Mitsutoki Shigeta, identified as the man in this photo by local media, had a plan to have ’10 to 15′ children every year through surrogates
A DNA test found that Shigeta was the biological father of the nine children, as well as four more babies born by surrogates in Thailand.
Mariam Kukunashvili, founder of the Thai clinic that recruited some of the surrogate mothers, said in 2014 that Shigeta told her ‘he wanted 10 to 15 babies a year and that he wanted to continue the baby-making process until he’s dead.’
He would achieve this by freezing his ‘high-quality sperm’ and keeping it in his own home.
Ms Kukunashvili said Shigeta also told her that he wanted to run in an election and win by using his big family for voting.
Shigeta later sued Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security for custody of the children, and won this week after the Thai surrogates signed away their rights.
Large brood: Nannies are seen holding nine of Mr Shigeta’s 13 children born in Thailand through surrogacy after a police raid at a flat in Bangkok in August 2014
Baby daddy: Mitsutoki Shigeta, a Japanese millionaire thought to be 27 years old, was found to be the father of 13 children after a DNA test was carried out
As he comes from a wealthy family, he has ample money and has prepared nurses and nannies to care for the children in Japan, the court ruling stated.
‘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 is the oldest son of Yasumitsu Shigeta, founder of Japanese telecom and insurance company Hikari Tsushin.
As a major shareholder in the company, thee 28-year-old earns millions of dollars a year in dividends.
Kong Suriyamontol, the Thai lawyer for Japanese national Mitsutoki Shigeta, speaks to the press after his client was granted paternity rights to his 13 children fathered through Thai surrogate mothers
The Shigeta case threw the spotlight on Thailand’s then unregulated rent-a-womb industry, and helped push authorities to bar foreigners from paying for Thai surrogates in 2015.
Surrogacy agencies quickly migrated to neighbouring Cambodia, who followed suit and barred the industry in 2016.
In recent months there have been signs the industry has shifted to 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.