CHIBA – Police on Wednesday arrested two men for allegedly arranging the adoption of a baby by a Tokyo couple for profit.
It is the first time arrests have been made in connection with an adoption agency in Japan. The child welfare law forbids such agencies from operating for profit.
The arrest comes as the central and local governments are introducing stricter rules to prevent entities from exploiting the adoption system. A law was enacted in December to make adoption subject to approval by prefectural governors.
Kiyoshi Uetani, 35, and Yutaka Iseda, 32, formerly senior officials at a now-defunct adoption agency in Yotsukaido, Chiba Prefecture, allegedly made arrangements in April last year for the couple to adopt the child of a pregnant woman in Kanagawa Prefecture, with the couple agreeing to pay ¥2.25 million (around $20,000).
The police raided locations related to the agency in November and suspect the two men were actually paid more than that amount.
While Uetani has admitted to the charge, saying, “I wanted to increase my income,” Iseda has denied the allegation, saying the money was collected for “necessary costs,” according to the police.
The couple received the baby in June but were forced to return the child to the biological mother after she said the baby had been taken without her consent, according to the police and the Chiba Prefectural Government.
The agency disbanded after a business suspension order was imposed by the prefectural government in September for operating for a profit.