Japanese man handed death sentence by Yamanashi court over Manila killings

Shinsuke Toba
Shinsuke Toba was shot and killed by a hitman in Manila in 2014

YAMANASHI (TR) – A 43-year-old Japanese man on Friday was handed a death sentence by a local court over the murder of two fellow countrymen from Yamanashi Prefecture in the Philippines in 2014 and 2015, reports Fuji News Network (Aug. 26).

At the Kofu District Court, presiding judge Tetsumi Maruyama handed Toshihiko Iwama, a resident of Fuefuki City, the death penalty for crimes that were fueled by the collection of insurance money.

“These were very clever and highly planned crimes. There can be no escape from the death penalty,” the judge said.

Iwama, 42, ordered the killing of Shinsuke Toba, a 32-year-old resident of Nirasaki City, who was shot dead inside a taxi on a street in the Philippine capital of Manila by a gunman riding a motorcycle on October 18, 2014, according to the ruling. In September of the year after, Tatsuya Nakamura, a 43-year-old resident of Fuefuki, a business acquaintance of Toba, was also killed by a hitman hired by Iwama in Manila.

Shoichi Kubo, a 44-year-old accomplice of Iwama, received a life-in-prison term in the case.

Insurance policies

Toba operated an osteopathic clinic in Nirasaki while Nakamura was a company employee. According to a previous report, a traveler’s insurance policy valued at 100 million yen had been taken out on Toba. Another policy valued at 50 million yen was taken out in the name of Nakamura. However, payouts were not made for either policy.

In its closing argument, the prosecution indicated that insurance payouts were the motives for the crimes. The defense claimed innocence, countering the accusations by saying that Iwama was not suffering from financial problems.

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