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American Toyota Executive Arrested In Japan



Photo: Kyodo

Julie Hamp — Toyota Motor Corp.’s first senior female executive who was appointed head of public relations just weeks ago — has been arrested in Japan for allegedly importing the prescription painkiller oxycodone in violation of the country’s narcotics laws.

A total of 57 pills were discovered by Japanese customs officials on June 11 inside a package that Hamp mailed to herself from Kentucky, declaring the contents to be a necklace, according to Japanese news reports.

Oxycodone is legal in the U.S. with a prescription.

The Asahi Shimbun writes: “When customs officials at Narita Airport checked an international parcel addressed to Julie Hamp, a 55-year-old American, they found pills, placed in bags, at the bottom of the parcel, Tokyo police said.”

Hamp, who was arrested on Thursday, has denied the charges. A spokesman for Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department said she told authorities that she did not think she had imported an illegal substance.

The Associated Press writes: “The high-profile stumble of a media-savvy executive, so early in the game, is an embarrassment for the automaker. Toyota had highlighted Hamp’s appointment with much fanfare as a sign that it was promoting diversity.”

In a statement issued by Toyota, the company said it was “sorry for causing a stir.”

“We believe that it will be made clear in the investigation that she had no intention to violate the law,” the statement said.

Read the full NPR article HERE