Toyota’s PR chief was arrested and detained on suspicion of smuggling drugs into Japan. Authorities confirmed Julie Hamp was arrested in Tokyo on Thursday and remains in custody. It is unclear whether charges were, or will be, filed.
As reported by Financial Times, an undisclosed number of Oxycodone pills were found inside a package — which Hamp mailed to Japan from the United States. According to reports, the package also contained other items she would need during her trip.
Following her arrest, Toyota’s PR chief told authorities she was unaware she was breaking the law. It is unclear whether Hamp had a valid prescription for the pills.
The Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, Japan, issues specific warnings concerning prescription medication.
In Japan, the import and export of narcotics are strictly prohibited. However, visitors may carry narcotic medication on their person under certain circumstances.
The medication must be for personal use only and must be pre-approved by Japan’s Narcotics Control Department prior to travel. The application includes an extensive questionnaire, which must be signed by a doctor.
— Ariatu PR (@AriatuPR) June 18, 2015
Although the process often takes several weeks, importing or exporting narcotics without prior permission is a serious crime. As discussed by the embassy, “Japanese customs officials do not make on-the-spot ‘humanitarian’ exceptions for medicines that are prohibited in Japan.”
As reported by ABC News, Toyota’s PR chief was arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs. However, she was not charged with a specific crime. According to Japanese law, suspects can be detained a total of 23 days without being charged.
A native of Queens, New York, Julie Hamp attended Ferris State University and Harvard Business School — where she majored in communications and Asian studies.
Toyota’s top communications exec, Julie Hamp, arrested in Japan on charges of importing Oxycodone by mail. http://t.co/qeQl2Y5CKi
— James G. Cobb (@NYCjamescobb) June 18, 2015
As Toyota’s managing officer and chief communications officer, Julie Hamp is in charge of public affairs in the United States and Japan. As discussed on the company’s website, Hamp “has the distinction of being the first woman named to these positions globally.”
Prior to joining Toyota, she worked for PepsiCo and General Motors.
Toyota spokesman Shino Yamada confirmed the Toyota PR chief’s arrest, and provided an official statement to Reuters.
“Toyota has been made aware of Ms. Hamp’s arrest but has no further facts in light of the ongoing investigation by the authorities… We will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation. 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.”
Although Toyota’s PR chief was arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs, it is unclear whether she will be charged with a crime. At this time, Julie Hamp remains in police detention.
[Image via Shutterstock]