Tuesday, July 7, 2015

UPDATED: Former Toyota Executive Hamp Will Be Released, Kyodo Says or 'Exec Seen Escaping Prosecution....'

Ex-Toyota Exec Seen Escaping Prosecution over Oxycodone Import

   Tokyo, July 7 (Jiji Press)--Former Toyota Motor Corp. <7203> Managing Officer Julie Hamp is seen escaping prosecution for importing from the United States oxycodone, which is designated as a narcotic drug under Japan's drug control law, informed sources said Tuesday.
   According to the sources, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has decided not to indict Hamp after finding that she intended to use the drug to reduce knee pain. She will be released from detention on Wednesday.
   Hamp took up the Toyota post in April, becoming the first female executive in the Japanese automaker's history. She resigned on June 30 after being arrested on June 18 for importing 57 oxycodone tablets earlier in the month.
   During interrogations, Hamp insisted that while she knew oxycodone is a restricted drug, she had no recognition that it is a narcotic, the sources said.
   She was also quoted as saying that she asked her father to send the tablets, which were prescribed to him. Her father submitted a testimony through a lawyer to support the daughter's claim.


Toyota’s First Female Executive Julie Hamp Resigns

Published on Jul 2, 2015
July 2 -- Toyota’s first female executive quit after just 90 days on the job. Julie Hamp’s resignation comes just two weeks after her arrest in Japan for allegedly importing prescription painkillers into the country. Bloomberg’s Craig Trudell reports on “Trending Business.”

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Julie Hamp to be released by July 8. No indictment.


Former Toyota Executive Hamp Will Be Released, Kyodo Says

Julie Hamp

Toyota’s Chief Communications Officer Julie Hamp. Source: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images
Julie Hamp, who resigned her post as Toyota Motor Corp.’s first female executive after being arrested in Japan for an alleged drug-law violation, will be released, Kyodo News reported.
Prosecutors lacked enough evidence to indict Hamp, Kyodo said, without saying where it got the information. A spokeswoman at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment.
“We are now trying to check the fact and cannot make any comment for now,” Monika Saito, a Toyota spokeswoman, said by phone.
The arrest of Hamp, 55, was a setback for Toyota’s drive to lead Japan Inc. in making management ranks more international and accepting of female executives. The company accepted Hamp’s resignation as communications chief less than two weeks after President Akio Toyoda had called a press conference to vouch for her character and express confidence she hadn’t intentionally broken Japanese law.
Hamp, an American, has been held by Tokyo police since her June 18 arrest on suspicion she imported the pain medication oxycodone. Japan designates the drug as a narcotic and requires advance permission from the health and welfare ministry to bring it into the country.
Hamp became global head of communications for Toyota in April. She joined the company in June 2012 from PepsiCo Inc., where she was a senior vice president, and worked previously for General Motors Corp.

A slightly different version: 

Prosecutors will not indict ex-Toyota exec Hamp over painkillers

Former Toyota Motor Corp. executive Julie Hamp will not be charged with illegally importing a controlled painkiller, investigative sources said Tuesday.

Prosecutors decided not to indict the 55-year-old American after concluding that her action was not ill-intended and considering the fact that she has already resigned from her job.
Hamp became the auto giant’s first female executive but stepped down last week over the scandal.
Police arrested her June 18 on suspicion of mailing 57 oxycodone pills from Kentucky to a Tokyo hotel where she was staying. The drug is illegal without a prescription in Japan.
The pills were found by customs officials when a package containing them arrived at Narita International Airport on June 11.
Oxycodone is often used as a pain reliever by cancer patients and is said to be stronger than morphine.
Hamp told the police she arranged for the pills to be sent for knee pain and did not think it would violate Japanese laws.
Toyota appointed Hamp as its first female managing officer on April 1 as part of efforts to diversify its leadership, but the automaker said she had resigned as of June 30.
Her case, and that of others like 26-year-old Carrie Russell, an English teacher held for 18 days in February for possessing prescription drugs sent from the U.S., offers a warning to visitors: Japan has tough laws for possession of prescription drugs, even when those medications may have been recommended by doctors abroad.
“When you get medicine from your physician, you assume it’s OK to bring it with you,” said Russell, who’s been taking medication for attention deficit disorder since she was 10. “I was completely wrong,” she said in a phone interview from Oregon.
A spokeswoman at the Tokyo Prosecutor’s Office, who asked not to be named citing department policy, declined to comment on Hamp’s and Russell’s cases. Hamp’s attorney and family members in the U.S. could not be reached for comment.
Oxycodone is a pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain and can be obtained in the U.S. with a prescription.
Under Japan’s criminal laws, police can detain suspects for 23 days without charge. During that period, police will interrogate those suspected of drug-related offenses for as long as six hours a day, according to Hirotaka Honda, a Tokyo-based attorney at the Honda Law Office who represents foreigners involved in criminal and domestic disputes involving the police.
“Detainees can be interrogated whenever the police think it is necessary,” said Honda. “And while getting investigated, they cannot be with their lawyer.”
Russell’s ordeal started Feb. 20 when she said she was approached by five plainclothes police officers with her photo in hand while she dined with a friend at a Tokyo pub.
One of the officers asked if she had any amphetamines.
Russell, who initially had no idea what they were talking about, said no. Even so, she was handcuffed and placed in the back seat of an unmarked van for a five-hour drive to Nagoya, her home since arriving in Japan.
A little more than 13,100 people were charged with drug-related crimes last year, the most in a decade, according to the National Police Agency. About 6 percent, or 778 individuals, were foreigners, the agency said. More than 80 percent of the crimes involved methamphetamines.
Cases of drug smuggling meanwhile rose 11 percent to 245, according to police data.
“The National Police Agency is getting more and more strict with drug cases recently,” said Hiroaki Okamoto, an attorney at Nakamura International Criminal Defense LPC in Tokyo.
Every day during her detention, Russell woke at 6:30 a.m., ate breakfast and performed morning chores. She would then be escorted into a room from 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. to be questioned until 5 p.m., she said.
“It was literally them asking me the same thing over and over again,” said Russell, who said she was the only foreigner in the detention center. The police were “trying to get me to break and say something that didn’t happen or was suspicious. But there was nothing for me to break on.”
After her interrogations, Russell had free time to read a book until lights out. The questioning would start again the next day, she said.
A spokesman with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment on the case.
Before moving to Tokyo, Russell taught English in South Korea. Her mother, a physician, had sent her packages, including Adderall, a pharmaceutical amphetamine used to treat ADD, which was never opened.
Russell mailed her belongings, including the drugs, from Seoul to Nagoya when she got a new job in Japan, unaware of the rule that users need advance permission before bringing certain drugs into the country.
The English teacher was released after 18 days of detention only when U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy made a personal appeal. She decided to return to the U.S. after her release.
On its website, the U.S. Embassy warns citizens to check before mailing or carrying medication to Japan, or face arrest and detention.
An embassy spokesman, who asked not to be named, declined to comment specifically on the case involving Hamp.