Japan police arrest American Toyota exec on drugs-related charges

Japan police arrest American Toyota exec on drugs-related charges
This undated picture released from Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor on March 4, 2015, shows American Julie Hamp, 55, Toyota's managing officer and chief communications officer.

TOKYO - Toyota's highest-ranking female executive was arrested at a Tokyo hotel on Thursday for allegedly importing a painkiller that is illegal under Japan's strict drug laws, reports said Thursday.

The charges against American Julie Hamp came after customs agents last week found 57 tablets containing oxycodone in a parcel sent to her, according to reports by the Asahi newspaper and public broadcaster NHK.

Hamp, 55, said she did not believe she was committing a crime, the reports said.

Police and Toyota both declined to comment Thursday.

Hamp was promoted to head of communications for the auto giant after previously working at Toyota's North American division.

Japanese drug laws ban some medications commonly available in other countries while jail time for possession of illegal narcotics such as cocaine or methamphetamine is not uncommon.

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