Canadian Manufacturing

Toyota exec Julie Hamp resigns amid drug row

Incident raises questions about Japan's corporate culture and drug policy

TOKYO—Toyota has announced the top ranking woman in the company’s history has resigned her post as managing officer. Hamp was arrested last month in Japan for allegedly attempting to bring tablets of the popular painkiller oxycodone into the country.

Toyota said Wednesday that Hamp had informed the company of her intent to resign as managing officer and that the company has accepted her resignation after considering “the concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused our stakeholders.”

“Because the investigation of Ms. Hamp is ongoing, there is little Toyota can say at this time. However, we intend to learn from this incident to help ensure a secure working environment for everyone at Toyota around the world as we continue to take the steps necessary to become a truly global company,” the company said in a statement.

“We remain firmly committed to putting the right people in the right places, regardless of nationality, gender, age and other factors,” it added.

Hamp’s tenure as the company’s top female employee lasted only several months. She had been promoted to head of corporate communications in March,

The incident has raised questions about Japan’s male-dominated corporate culture as well as its stringent drug laws.

While Toyota stood by Hamp initially, with president Akio Toyoda saying she was a close personal friend and that he did not believe she intended to break any laws, the company now seems eager to put the incident behind it.

According to Reuters, though Hamp was arrested June 18, she has yet to be officially charged with a crime. Under Japanese law, a person can be detained 20 days without formal charges.

Police must either pursue charges or release Hamp by July 8.

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