Toyota Exec Julie Hamp Could Face Years In Prison If Indicted, Says Hiroaki Okamoto, A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Japan

When it comes to laws pertaining to drugs, Japan is very strict and has no tolerance. If Indicted, Julie Hamp, Toyota’s exec could face years in prison, says Hiroaki Okamoto, a criminal defense lawyer at the Nakamura International Criminal Defense Office in Tokyo. Reports have confirmed that Julie Hamp, Chief Communication Officer for Toyota Motor Corporation was arrested on Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Japan for allegedly importing Oxycodone, a prescription painkiller in violation of the Japan Narcotic Laws.

In a recent report by Kyodo News Service, Julie Hamp was arrested on suspicion of illegally importing 57 oxycodone tablets via international mail from Michigan. Custom officials at Narita Airport found a small pack containing the tablets at the bottom of a package and reported it to the Japanese Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

According to the narcotic law of Japan, Oxycodone is designated as a narcotic, and only authorized medical institutions and pharmacies are allowed to handle it. Private import from overseas is basically prohibited, and individuals may not bring in oxycodone without prior permission from the government and a medical certificate from a physician.

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, oxycodone is a medical narcotic prescribed to cancer patients and others. The ministry said about 800 kilograms were consumed in Japan in 2013.

Oxycodone is “a strong narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone;” oxycodone is legal in the United States with a prescription.

The Metropolitan Police Department, after the arrest, had a physician confirm Ms. Hamp’s health, but came out with the report that Ms. Hamp had no medical condition that would necessitate taking oxycodone, and in a statement, Ms. Hamp denied the charges against her and told authorities that she did not think she had imported an illegal substance.

It is not yet clear if Julie Hamp is aware that oxycodone is an illegal drug and cannot be imported into Japan without permission and medical certificate from a physician, that is why she has arranged for it to be mailed to her to outwit the law enforcement authorities or it is just by complete coincidence that the drug was sent to her, and the content declared wrongly.

According to Associated Press, The President of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda issued a public apology at a News Conference for the arrest of one of their top executives in an attempt to do damage control, as the arrest of Julie Hamp is gaining currency in the news all over the world.

Drug offences in Tokyo mostly carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. It is believed that when Ms. Hamp is found guilty of the charges, she may be made to face years in prison, followed by deportation.

Some reports are also saying it will be very tough for Ms. Hamp to get the charges against her suspended sentence if found guilty of the charges because of the large volume of pills that were discovered in the parcel sent to her in Tokyo in contravention of the law on drugs.

It is worthy to note that Julie Hamp, who was appointed as the managing officer just in April this year, was to relocate to Tokyo as her new base, and has moved to her new base before the incident on Thursday.

Investigations are still ongoing. Stay tuned.