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The Supreme Court upheld the death penalty Friday for a man convicted of abducting and murdering two 7-year-old girls in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1992.

The top court’s five-justice second petty bench rejected an appeal from Michitoshi Kuma, 68, who has claimed innocence since his arrest.

Handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Shigeo Takii said there is no reasonable doubt, judging from facts, that Kuma committed the crime.

“There is no room to show leniency to the defendant,” the justice said, terming the crime “cruel and hard-hearted,” and “motivated by his sexual desire.”

This was the Supreme Court’s third decision this month upholding a death sentence. If all the decisions stand, the number of convicts on death row in Japan will reach 91, as of Friday.

A defendant can contest a Supreme Court decision, but the top court limits the scope of the argument to technical matters and rarely overturns its earlier decision.

Kuma abducted the two girls on Feb. 20, 1992, and strangled them in his car before dumping the bodies in mountains south of the city, previous rulings said.

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