Originally published in Westchester Magazine
July 9, 2015
Almost three weeks after Julie Hamp’s arrest in Tokyo for allegedly importing oxycodone into Japan, the former chief communications officer for Toyota was released from custody in Japan without charge on Wednesday.
Hamp was arrested in Tokyo on June 18 after Japanese custom officials found 57 oxycodone tablets in a package that was sent to her from the United States. Oxycodone, though legal in both the United States and Japan, requires pre-importation approval from the Japanese government. Officials from the prosecutor’s office in Japan told The Wall Street Journal that Hamp was not abusing the pills and was using them for health reasons.
Prior to her position at Toyota, Hamp served as the senior vice president of communications at PepsiCo, headquartered in Purchase. According to her LinkedIn profile, Hamp worked at PepsiCo from December 2007 until March 2012. Hamp was named Toyota’s first female managing officer in 2012 when she joined Toyota’s North American team; She relocated to Tokyo in June and was arrested on the 18th, just days following Toyota’s annual meeting.
Though she is not facing any charges, the incident cost Hamp her job and Toyota its first non-Japanese executive to be based in Japan.
“We apologize for any confusion or concern the recent events surrounding former Managing Officer Julie Hamp may have caused,” the statement read. “We intend to learn from this incident by reinforcing our guiding principles of honoring the language and spirit of the law. Furthermore, we will continue to strive to create a more secure working environment for everyone at Toyota around the world. We also remain firmly committed to putting the right people in the right places, regardless of nationality, gender, age and other factors, as we continue to take the steps necessary to become a truly global company.”
Toyota also announced that Shigeru Hayakawa, a senior managing officer and member of its board of directors, had replaced Hamp as chief communications officer.