Death sentence upheld for Japanese man over murders in Manila

Kyodo News

Posted at Dec 19 2019 05:28 AM

A high court on Tuesday upheld a death sentence for a Japanese man convicted of murdering two compatriots in Manila in 2014 and 2015 for insurance payments.

The Tokyo High Court rejected an appeal by Toshihiko Iwama, 46, from Fuefuki in Yamanashi Prefecture, who has maintained his innocence.

According to the ruling, Iwama conspired with accomplices to hire a local hitman to kill Shinsuke Toba, 32, who was fatally shot in 2014, and Tetsuya Nakamura, 42, who was gunned down in 2015, in the Philippine capital.

The victims, from Yamanashi Prefecture west of Tokyo, were executives of a company in which Iwama was a large shareholder. The company would have received insurance payments of 100 million yen ($912,400) and 50 million yen for the deaths of Toba and Nakamura, respectively.

One of the accomplices, Shoichi Kubota, 46, admitted to the murders and is serving a life sentence.

Presiding Judge Tsutomu Aoyagi said Kubota's testimony during a lower court hearing in which he claimed Iwama planned the murders "has been backed up by evidence and its credibility has not been undermined."

In appealing the ruling of the Kofu District Court, Iwama denied involvement in the killings and asserted Kubota had misled investigators.