Japanese man sentenced to death over murders in Manila

Kyodo News

Posted at Aug 26 2017 04:47 AM

A 43-year-old Japanese man accused of murdering two compatriots in Manila in 2014 and 2015 for insurance payouts was sentenced to death Friday in a district court in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo.

Presiding Judge Tetsumi Maruyama of the Kofu District Court handed down the capital punishment sentence on Toshihiko Iwama as prosecutors had sought.

"It was an inhuman crime to obtain money by any means necessary. The victims' families hope for the death penalty," Maruyama said.

In their closing arguments, prosecutors insisted that Iwama orchestrated the murder plot including insurance procedures, while the defense counsel had claimed Iwama was innocent, saying he had no motive for murder as he was not facing financial difficulties.

Iwama's defense counsel suggested it will appeal the ruling.

According to the ruling, Iwama conspired with accomplices to hire a local hit man who shot and killed Shinsuke Toba, 32, in October 2014 and murdered Tatsuya Nakamura, 42, in a similar way sometime between the end of August and the beginning of September in 2015 in the Philippine capital.

One of the accomplices, 44-year-old Shoichi Kubota, admitted to the accusation and has been sentenced to life in prison.

The two victims resided in Yamanashi Prefecture, with Toba, a manager of an osteopathic clinic, living in Nirasaki, and Nakamura, a company executive, living in Fuefuki.

Both were executives of a company in which Iwama was a large shareholder. The company was going to receive 100 million yen ($912,000) and 50 million yen for the deaths of Toba and Nakamura, respectively, for insurance payouts. The payouts never happened.