A former Toyota executive spent 20 days in a Tokyo jail on drug charges

Former toyota exec julie hamp leaves tokyo police stationKYODO Kyodo/ReutersJulie Hamp leaves Harajuku Police Station in Tokyo on Wednesday, July 8

Former Toyota communications executive Julie Hamp was arrested in Japan on June 18 on charges of attempting to import oxycodone, a pain medication that is legal in the United States.

She was released 20 days later on Wednesday, July 8, after the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor decided not to indict the 55-year-old former communications executive of the world’s largest automaker.

Bloomberg News reports:

Prosecutors decided not to indict Hamp, 55, who had been held by Tokyo police since June 18 on suspicion she imported the pain medication oxycodone, because the pills were meant for her physical condition and not for drug abuse. She left the jail in Tokyo’s Harajuku district Wednesday afternoon in a silver Toyota Alphard.

Hamp had spent just three months at Toyota, and was the company’s first female executive. She resigned shortly into the investigation in Japan.

Toyota released the following statement on Wednesday, in response to the prosecutor’s decision: “We apologise for any confusion or concern the recent events surrounding former Managing Officer Julie Hamp may have caused.”

Senior Managing Officer and Member of the Board of Directors Shigeru Hayakawa was appointed to fill the Chief Communications Officer slot vacated by Hamp. He began this role on July 6.

“In Japan, prosecutors have a huge amount of discretion in whether to prosecute a case. They will look at both their legal responsibility and social responsibility,” Satoru Shinomiya, a professor of criminal law at Tokyo’s Kokugakuin University told the Detroit Free Press.

“An ordinary American — they might have prosecuted. But (Hamp) was a senior officer at Toyota. She resigned her job. They might have thought, ‘That’s punishment enough.'”

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