By on July 7, 2015

Former Toyota communications chief Julie Hamp will be released from jail Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News (via Kyodo News).

Hamp was jailed June 18 for allegedly mailing herself 57 Oxycodone pills, which are illegal in Japan. She resigned her position with Toyota on June 30 as one of the global automaker’s highest-ranking female executives.

The reason for Hamp’s release is unclear. Bloomberg reported that prosecutors in Japan didn’t have enough evidence to indict Hamp on the charges. Kyodo News (via translator) reported prosecutors determined Hamp’s actions weren’t malicious and her resignation may have been enough punishment.

According to Kyodo News, police can’t hold Hamp longer than Wednesday without pressing charges.

On the day of her arrest, Hamp was named to PR Week’s “Power List” as a top communications executive. Before working at Toyota, Hamp worked at General Motors and Pepsi. She was promoted to her position on March 4.

According to a Bloomberg report, Hamp may be questioned up to 6 hours every day during her detention. Police in Japan can detain suspects for up to 23 days without formally charging them with any crime. If Hamp were charged and convicted, she could have faced 2 1/2 years in prison with two years suspended.

Japan is famously strict on prescription medications. The U.S. Embassy in Japan warns visitors to leave over-the-counter medication, such as allergy medicine and even asthma inhalers, at home. Common U.S. drugs such as Prozac or Viagra are sold on the black market in Japan and can carry jail sentences if purchased illegally, the embassy warns.

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32 Comments on “Police Releasing Former Toyota Executive Jailed for Pain Pills...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Everybody wins?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If this is true, then in Japan, if an accused person loses his job, they might consider that punishment enough?

    Wow. Sometimes we do really forget how different their culture is.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      That’s a passive-aggressive act of saving face, which isn’t unknown in the US, either.

      The case wasn’t that strong. But instead of admitting that, they make a snarky claim that implies guilt without the need to prove it.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Black market Prozac? I wonder why? Do they not have a Japanese version of HIPAA so people are trying to avoid the stigma of a diagnosis of depression? Or?

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “her resignation may have been enough punishment.”

    Mission accomplished.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Stories in the media had indicated that those receiving prescriptions legally issued from the United States to Japan can run afoul of the local laws. The law in Japan doesn’t care if it is a legal prescription from a board certified doctor in the United States. I guess it is common to be caught up in this. So there are a couple of scenarios here:

    A) These were a legal prescription from a doctor in the US for a condition she is being treated for, and has a mountain of evidence to support that. Continued prosecution would be little more than witch hunt or…

    B) Toyota said, “we need a graceful to make this go away,” and Ms. Hamp is heading back to the states to live out the rest of her days as a special consultant and on the board of directors of several companies – ironically likely making more money than before the scandal.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…prosecutors determined Hamp’s actions weren’t malicious and her resignation may have been enough punishment.”

    I suspect both are true. But hopefully she can find work again, at least in the US.

  • avatar
    carguy

    You nearly went a whole 24 hours without another Julie Hamp post.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    So what then? She has a prescription for them but figured (probably rightly so) that it would be easier to have them mailed to her from the States than to try to go through the proper channels there to get them legit?
    Someone probably warned her how hard it was and told her how easy it is to get it mailed.
    And boom, here we are.
    The war on drugs saves the day again!

  • avatar
    50merc

    She has suffered a lot for what is essentially a victimless crime. She had a prescription. Maybe Japan would like to prosecute Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer.

  • avatar
    thanh_n

    Why is this story arc such a big deal on TTAC? There are seven articles on the subject reporting on essentially the same thing. Seems like overkill for someones personal problems.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    I’ve had quite a few prescriptions in my time. I’ve never had a doctor write me a prescription for 57 of anything.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    She is lucky Toyota was on her side. Had she been a “nobody”, she would likely be stuck in a Japanese prison for a long, long time.

    • 0 avatar
      Car-los

      I agree with you

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Completely the opposite. Toyota hung her out to dry within days and the way it works in Japan is that her high profile meant that there was more pressure on her to confess from everyone who saw her.

      Also bogus is the prosecution service’s claim that they think her resignation might be punishment enough. That’s the government trying to save face for not being able to wring a confession out of her to proceed. Without a confession, they know they will never be able to convict, despite the strength of any evidence, so they’re dropping the case now. Wouldn’t want a failure to convict on the books, now would we?

      All she had to do was stick to one story – “Wasn’t me, friend/relative who sent it to me did it of their own initiative,” admit no wrongdoing, doesn’t matter how implausible the story is and they were never going to charge her.

  • avatar
    Durask

    She got released because US Ambassador to Japan who happens to be Caroline Kennedy pushed on the Japanese govt.

    Helps to be rich and powerful.

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