The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a death sentence for a man convicted of murdering two other Japanese men in Manila in 2014 and 2015, rejecting his appeal to have the ruling overturned.

Toshihiko Iwama, 49, was sentenced to death by the Kofu District Court in 2017 for murdering the two men for insurance payments. The judgment was upheld by the Tokyo High Court in 2019.

According to the high court ruling, Iwama conspired with accomplices, including a man now serving a life sentence, to hire a hit man in the Philippines to kill 32-year-old Shinsuke Toba in 2014 and Tatsuya Nakamura, 42, in 2015.

Both men, fatally shot in Manila, were executives of a firm in which Iwama was a large shareholder, and their deaths would have resulted in large insurance payouts for the company.

The high court ruling upheld the district court's view that it was "highly likely to be a premeditated crime intended to ensure the victims were killed without the perpetrator doing it himself." The lower court also said his "responsibility is of a greater level" than others involved in the crime.