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Japan Won't Prosecute US Toyota Exec in Drug Case: Reports

July 7, 2015
The arrest of Toyota's most senior female executive at a hotel in Tokyo came after a package containing oxycodone was intercepted at the airport.

TOKYO - Japanese prosecutors are dropping their case against an American Toyota (IW 1000/8) executive who resigned following her arrest in Tokyo for drug law violations, reports said Tuesday.

Julie Hamp, 55, who was recently appointed to head global public relations at the world's biggest carmaker, was taken into custody last month for importing a controlled substance without permission.

The arrest of Toyota's most senior female executive at a hotel in Tokyo came after a package containing oxycodone was intercepted at the airport.

Oxycodone -- an opioid used to relieve pain -- is legal with a prescription, but importing it without permission from the authorities is illegal and could be punished by up to 10 years in prison. 

However, prosecutors in Tokyo decided they would not pursue an indictment given the relatively minor nature of the crime, Japan's top-selling Yomiuri newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.

National broadcaster NHK and Kyodo news agency had similar reports.

Hamp is expected to be released Wednesday after three weeks in police custody.

Hamp told prosecutors she had the powerful painkiller shipped from the United States to ease problems with her knees and reportedly said she has not meant to break the law.

The parcel was sent to her on June 8 from the U.S. and arrived at Tokyo's Narita airport on June 11 where it was intercepted, according to police.

The package, labeled "necklaces," contained several small boxes, each holding accessories and several tablets, reports have said, adding that police suspected there had been an attempt to hide the drug.

Earlier reports said her father had posted the package to her.

After her arrest, Toyota's chief executive Akio Toyoda apologized and pledged his support for Hamp, who in April became the company's first non-Japanese executive posted to work permanently in Toyota's home market.

Toyota announced last week that she had resigned.

Oxycodone, which can be addictive, is designated as a narcotic in Japan but can be prescribed by a doctor to relieve pain.

Japanese law allows individuals to bring the drug from abroad if they have a legitimate prescription. However it cannot be sent by mail.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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