According to the automaker’s chief executive officer, Toyota should have done a better job in assisting its newly appointed chief communications executive in relocating to Japan – and she might have avoided thus her arrest for violating Japan’s rules on controlled substances.
The company’s newly appointed chief communications officer, Julie Hamp, was detained after she tried to mail herself 57 oxycodone pills, which are heavily regulated by Japanese authorities. “To me, executives and staff who are my direct reports are like my children,” commented Toyota President Akio Toyoda in news brief on the matter. “It’s the responsibility of a parent to protect his children and, if a child causes problems, it’s also a parent’s responsibility to apologize.” He subsequently did so, and also said it was the company’s belief she had no intention to break the law. Hamp relocated in April from the US following her appointment as the top communications manager, and Toyoda said the carmaker failed in making sure her transition was handled properly.
Hamp, 55, is the first woman to be placed in a top position within the company – which is traditionally dominated by Japanese men- and she was assigned to the duty in an effort to expand the company’s leadership views. While it’s unclear if the executive remained in police custody, the Japanese law is very strict on drug offenses, including the ones with prescription – authorities can have a suspect in custody for as long as 23 days before filing any charge. If she is found guilty, she could face years in prison and then be deported.