Japanese baby Manjhi can now fly to Japan

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Jaipur, Oct 17: Finally, a relief for the little 'Manjhi', born from an Indian surrogate mother. After getting directions from Supreme Court, government authorities in Jaipur provided travel documents to the Japanese baby paving the way for her to be flown to Japan. The regional passport office issued her an identity certificate, a travel document, valid for a year, given to people whose nationality is not known.

"Identity certificate, we have issued because she belongs to Japan. Her father belongs to Japan so we have issued for single country. It is valid only for Japan. Mother's name and nationality is left blank," said Passport Officer, S K Verma.

74-year-old Japanese grandmother Emiko Yamada filed papers for the migration of surrogate baby on Monday, Oct 13.

"Once she gets this identity certificate, all the formalities for getting the visa and all will be done by Japanese Embassy. And once they reach there what procedure they will follow that whether it is an adoption case or it would be treated as natural parents status will be given, but it will be governed there in Japan as per whatever rules they have, we can't give any explanation. It will be according to their rules and regulations," said Verma.

Manjhi was caught in a legal tussle as India's laws prohibit the child's divorced Japanese father from taking custody of her because soon after conception, her parents got separated.

The Jaipur High Court had handed over custody of the newborn to Emiko Yamada in August and asked the Central Government to consider her representation seeking sanction to take Manjhi to Japan.

The Supreme Court later intervened on an appeal and the Central Government's legal advisor, the Solicitor General, assured the court that travel documents would be issued soon.

The baby's parents Ikufumi Yamada, 45, and his then-wife Yuki Yamada, 41, had come to India a year ago and had hired the services of a surrogate mother in Ahmedabad, but during the pregnancy, the couple got divorced.

Soon after the baby was born, serial bombings took place in Ahmedabad and the baby was shifted to Jaipur, where she is being currently looked after at a hospital.

Her father wanted to take custody of the child but Manjhi's future was left in a legal limbo, with only her grandmother to look after her as her father had to leave India as his visa expired.


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