The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling that sentenced a Filipino man to life imprisonment for the 2004 gang rape and murder of a university student in Ibaraki Prefecture.

According to the rulings, Jerico Mori Lampano, 37, conspired with two other Filipino men to rape and kill the 21-year-old Ibaraki University student by cutting her throat multiple times on a riverbank in the village of Miho on Jan. 31, 2004.

The three men had abducted the victim in a vehicle from the nearby town of Ami earlier that day.

"A life term is appropriate even though the accused has shown remorse," presiding Judge Tsutomu Tochigi said, calling the crime despicable and heinous.

During the high court trial Lampano's defense lawyers had claimed a life term was too severe for the accused, who pleaded guilty and expressed regret for the attack after having a daughter of his own.

Police arrested Lampano in September 2017 based on DNA samples collected from the student's body.

The two other men, who were minors and colleagues of Lampano at the time of the crime, returned to the Philippines and have been placed on an international wanted list. Whether they will be prosecuted remains uncertain, as Japan does not have an extradition treaty with the Philippines.