The mystery over the Hong Kong-based Japanese businessmen who has allegedly fathered at least 15 children with Thai surrogate mothers has deepened after it emerged that he may also be the father of children in India.
Mitsutoki Shigeta, who is wanted by the authorities in Thailand, told the joint founder of Bangkok-based New Life Global Network that he had travelled to India to father two children with local surrogate mothers.
Mariam Kukunashvili told Japan’s Jiji Press news agency that 24-year-old Shigeta said he also claimed to have spent US$100,000 attempting to father surrogate babies in Ukraine in 2011.
The latest allegations will prompt new speculation that Shigeta, who is believed to be the son of Yasumitsu Shigeta, the multibillionaire owner of one of Japan’s biggest telecommunications companies, may have fathered more children in other countries around the world where the laws on surrogacy are not strict.
Japanese authorities have declined to comment on the case on the grounds that no charges have yet been filed. Shigeta is understood to have returned to Japan from his apartment in the SoHo district of Central and is believed to be cooperating with police here.
The focus of the investigation is whether Shigeta is in some way involved in the trafficking in infants, although his Thai lawyer, Ratthaprathan Tulathorn, has strongly denied that suggestion.
Shigeta was also involved in the setting up of Familonet, a German technology company that has created an application to monitor the movements of children.
Thai police still want to question Shigeta as to why he wanted so many children, but Tulathorn told local media that the Japanese businessmen’s motive was that he is very rich and wants to have a big family because they will be able to take over his business interests in the future.
Thai police uncovered the case in August 5, when they searched an apartment in the suburbs of Bangkok and took six boys and three girls into protective custody. Babysitters were apparently caring for the infants. Two more babies were located at a hospital in the city, while four more have been taken to Cambodia.
It is believed that the man also has three children in Japan, although it is not clear whether they were born to surrogate mothers or their nationalities.
The Japanese media is treading very carefully in its reporting of the case – not unusual in a country with strong privacy protection laws – and has not yet identified the man by name. That lack of information, however, is fuelling suggestions and rumours on the internet.
Cyberspace suggestions so far have claimed that Shigeta has two passports in addition to his Japanese one, including a Cambodian passport, while it is also being claimed that the donor eggs implanted into all the Thai surrogate mothers came from white women.