Baby Manji reaches Osaka

Ending months of uncertainty over her fate, Manji Yamada, the baby born in India to a surrogate mother under contract to a Japanese man, arrived in Osaka to unite with her father, 45-year-old Ikufumi Yamada. The three-month-old baby had been unable to leave India after her birth because she holds neither an Indian nor a Japanese nationality. The issue was resolved recently after the Japanese Government issued a one-year visa to her on humanitarian grounds.

The girl arrived at Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture from India on Sunday, accompanied by her 70-year-old grandmother Emkio Yamada. The Japanese Government had issued the visa last week after the Indian Government had granted the baby a travel certificate in September in line with a Supreme Court direction. According to Japanese authorities, it is possible for the baby to become a naturalised Japanese citizen once a parent-child relationship has been established, either by the man recognising his paternity or through his adoption of her.

Manji was born to a surrogate mother at Anand in Gujarat on July 25 and was brought to a hospital in Jaipur on August 3. However, before the baby was born, the Yamadas separated, with the wife not willing to accept the child.

The surrogate mother too abandoned Manji and in the absence of clear laws on surrogacy, the child's fate had been hanging in the balance.

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