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Japanese Authorities Free Ex-Toyota Spokeswoman Without Charges

Ex-Toyota communications chief Julie Hamp was freed by Japanese prosecutors Wednesday without charges after being held 20 days on drug charges.
Arrested U.S. Toyota exec asked father to mail painkiller to Japan
Photo taken June 17, 2015 shows Toyota Motor Corp.'s first female executive Julie Hamp speaking at a press conference in the central Japanese city of Toyota. Hamp, who was arrested on June 18 on suspicion of importing a painkiller considered a narcotic to Japan, has told police that she asked her father to make the shipment, according to an investigative source. (Kyodo) ==KyodoKyodo

Former Toyota communications chief Julie Hamp was released from jail by Japanese prosecutors Wednesday without being charged for allegedly importing the narcotic painkiller oxycodone without official permission.

While the 55-year-old New York native will not have to face trial – something that could have led to up to 10 years in prison – she was forced to resign from a position that made her not only one of the most prominent foreigners in the Japanese business world but the highest-ranking woman in a traditionally closed society.

“She has already gone through a certain level of punishment,” an official from the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office told the Wall Street Journal which noted that prosecutors considered her resignation in deciding to release Hamp without charges.

She is now expected to return to the United States.

Hamp was arrested on June 18 after receiving a package of jewelry in which, it was alleged, 57 tablets of oxycodone, a narcotic painkiller, had been hidden – reportedly by her father. It was reportedly part of a legal prescription given to Hamp in the U.S. for problems with her knees. But she failed to first win permission to import the drug into Japan.

Hamp had joined Toyota Motor Corp. in 2012 as head of U.S. communications, and was in the midst of completing her move to Japan after being promoted to the global top spot in April.

For now, Hamp has been replaced by a Japanese male, Toyota Senior Managing Officer Shigeru Hayakawa, whose office issued a statement that, “We intend to learn from this incident by reinforcing our guiding principles of honoring the language and spirit of the law.”

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