TOKYO, Sept. 14 -- An executive of Japan's leading commercial bank was found dead early Wednesday, lying dressed in pajamas in front of his luxury apartment with a bullet through his right eye. Police said they were treating the death of Kazufumi Hatanaka, 54, as a murder case but had no immediate suspects or solid motives for the killing.
Hatanaka was found early Wednesday morning in the hallway outside of his 10th floor apartment by another resident of the building in Nagoya, southest of Tokyo. Police said the manager of Sumitomo Bank's Nagoya branch had been shot with a handgun at close range. The possession of guns and other weapons is illegal in Japan and violent crime is rare. Hatanaka's death was the latest in a series of threats and violence against business executives over the past year and a half that authorities suspect is linked to organized crime. Since early last year, a bank vice president in western Japan has been shot dead and a Fuji Photo Film Co. executive has been stabbed to death in Tokyo. There have been dozens of other incidents directed against large companies and their senior executives. Police said the president of Sumitomo Bank, Sotoo Tatsumi, had received three threatening letters containing razor blades over a four month period last year. In late May last year, shots were fired at a Sumitomo Bank branch in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. Around the same time, Molotov cocktails were thrown at the homes of executives of Sumitomo Realty and Development Co. and Sumitomo Bank.