KOBE — Police on Friday began investigating the fatal stabbing the previous night of a company president in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. According to police, Akitoshi Hashimoto, 48, was stabbed in the back outside his home at around 8:10 p.m.

Hashimoto’s eldest son reportedly heard a scream from his second-floor room and later found his father lying in the street in front of the house. Hashimoto was rushed to a nearby hospital but died about one hour later due to an excessive loss of blood, police said.

Neighbors of Hashimoto told police that the victim had argued loudly with several men in front of his house shortly after arriving home by car around 8 p.m. Police quoted the area residents as saying they heard Hashimoto scream and shout “Help me!” Immediately after that, neighbors saw three men fleeing the scene but were unable to provide police with any clues as to their identity, according to police.

Hashimoto was president of Hashimoto Sangyo, a company selling highly pressurized gases. Police suspect the killing may be business-related and have questioned company employees on the matter, sources close to police said.

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