Toyota’a former highest ranking female executive ever learned a tough lesson about mailing drugs to Japan after having spent three weeks in a Japanese prison while the police conducted an investigation into the incident:
Hamp, 55, who resigned as Toyota’s communications officer last week from a Japanese jail, has been detained since her June 18 arrest for allegedly importing prescription painkillers that require prior approval before being brought into Japan. Prosecutors will decide on July 8 whether Hamp, who hasn’t been formally charged, is to be indicted.
Her experience, and that of others like 26-year-old Carrie Russell, an English teacher held for 18 days in February for possessing prescription drugs sent from the U.S., offers a warning to visitors: Japan has tough laws for possession of prescription drugs, even when those medications may have been recommended by doctors abroad.
“When you get medicine from your physician, you assume it’s OK to bring it with you,” said Russell, who’s been taking medication for attention deficit disorder since she was 10. “I was completely wrong,” she said in a phone interview from Oregon.
Tokyo metropolitan police arrested Hamp of Toyota Motor on suspicion that she had imported the pain medication oxycodone. Hamp had her father send 57 tablets containing oxycodone to a Tokyo hotel where she was staying, according to Kyodo News, citing a Tokyo police representative.
Look, I am no rocket surgeon or brain scientist, but I am quite certain it is common knowledge to never send drugs, prescription or otherwise, in the mail, especially to a foreign country. The fact that the pills were hidden inside jewelry boxes points towards firsthand knowledge and thus I honestly believe she got what she deserved.
If Hemp really required the medication then she should have visited a Japanese hospital. It is likely the doctors would have prescribed her something equivalent without any fuss whatsoever. My experience with the Japanese medical system is that it is exceedingly easy to get a prescription for whatever you need just by talking to your doctor about the need for the medicine. They will generally hand it out like candy, so long as the prescription falls within the quantity guidelines outlined in Japanese law.
So yeah, I do not feel bad for Hemp. She should have known better, especially someone as high ranking as her. Hemp was lucky enough to be let free after the police determined she had no criminal intent and had suffered enough as a result of her arrest and subsequent resignation from Toyota.
The tinfoil hat inside me says someone in Toyota who resented her rising to this position knew of her drug issue and informed the Japanese police about it, knowing she would be arrested and likely would not survive staying at Toyota thanks to the ordeal.