Toyota exec Julie Hamp arrested for smuggling Oxycodone into Japan

Toyota President Says Exec Didn’t Mean to Break Drug Law

Julie Hamp, 55, heralded recently as being hired on to bring diversity to the Japanese auto manufacturer as Toyota’s first female western senior executive, was arrested on June 18 on suspicion of importing an illegal pain drug, Oxycodone, into Tokyo. Hamp was in the process of moving from California to Japan and air mailed herself the Oxycodone “hidden in various parts of a jewelry box,” which was discovered by Japanese customs officials, according to a June 19 report by the Associated Press carried by Fox News.

Hamp is Toyota’s head of public relations and the first foreign Toyota executive to be stationed in Japan full-time. She was hired by Toyota three months ago for this new position although she worked for the company in a different capacity previously. Police in Japan said that Hamp denied the accusations made against her.

MSN’s Financial Times said that Hamp told police that “I do not believe I had imported [illegal] drugs.” Police in Japan said that although Oxycodone may be legal in the U.S. with a doctor’s prescription, the pain killer is illegal in Japan.

The auto manufacturer issued a statement saying that they were aware of Hamp’s arrest and are cooperating completely with the authorities in their investigation. Fox quoted Toyota as saying “We are confident, however, that once the investigation is complete, it will be revealed that there was no intention on Ms Hamp’s part to violate any law.”

Hamp has an impressive corporate resume, having worked at GM for about 20 years and as PepsiCo’s chief communications officer before being hired by Toyota about three years ago. She was promoted to her new position as Toyota’s head of public relations in April.

It’s not certain how long Hamp might be detained by the metropolitan police in Tokyo. Japanese law dictates that she could be held a maximum of 23 days before being charged.

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