Julie Hamp has resigned amid accusations that she smuggled narcotic medication into Japan. According to official reports, the former Toyota executive was arrested and detained on June 18. Although she was not formally charged, Hamp is being held on suspicion of importing 57 oxycodone pills into the country in a package she mailed to herself.
Although she denies intentionally breaking the law, Julie Hamp resigned her position as Toyota’s Chief Communications Officer to avoid further negative publicity.
As reported by USA Today, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said Hamp is “a close friend” and an “invaluable” part of the Toyota family. However, the company accepted her resignation due to the “concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused [the] stakeholders.”
It is unclear whether Hamp was prescribed the powerful pain medication, and whether she understood Japanese law.
As reported by the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, Japan strictly forbids the import of narcotic medication without prior government approval.
The import and export of narcotics by carrying are permitted if the traveler has a valid prescription, a signed medical certificate, and verified permission from the Japanese government.
The import and export of narcotics by mail is strictly prohibited under any circumstances.
— Monique Hill (@CarsCoolQ) July 1, 2015
According to reports, Julie Hamp included the medication in a box of supplies, which she mailed from the United States to Japan in anticipation of her arrival. Although it may have been an honest mistake, Julie Hamp is facing up to 10 years in prison.
The former Toyota executive is currently being held without any formal criminal charge. According to Japanese law, Hamp could be detained a total of 23 days prior to being formally charged.
— BW Breaking News (@BWBreaking) July 1, 2015
In an official statement, Toyota officials acknowledged the company may have been remiss in preparing Hamp for her move to Japan.
“Because the investigation of Ms. Hamp is ongoing, there is little Toyota can say at this time… However, we intend to learn from this incident to help ensure a secure working environment for everyone at Toyota around the world as we continue to take the steps necessary to become a truly global company.”
Prior to joining Toyota, Julie Hamp worked for General Motors and Pepsico, Inc. She currently sits on the board of Directors of The Ad Council and Purchase College.
A native of New York, the former Toyota executive attended Ferris State University, where she majored in communications — and Harvard Business School, where she majored in Asian studies.
Although it is unclear how Japanese authorities will proceed with their case, Julie Hamp resigned her position with Toyota to avoid further controversy.