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Toyota apologises after Japan arrests top US executive

Toyota Motor Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda bows deeply for apology

Car maker Toyota has apologised after one of its top executives was arrested on suspicion of illegally importing painkillers into Japan.

Company president Akio Toyoda said at a news conference that US national Julie Hamp had not intended to break the law.

Ms Hamp serves as Toyota’s head of public relations and is its first senior woman executive.

She is accused of sending herself 57 tablets of the painkiller oxycodone in a package marked “necklaces”.

Mr Toyoda said the company should have done more to help Ms Hamp, who was in the process of relocating to Japan.

He described her as “a dear colleague whom I trust” and added: “We believe it will become clear that Ms Hamp did not intend to break the law.”

The company has said it will fully co-operate with the investigation.

Ms Hamp told police she did not think she had imported an illegal substance, according to a spokesman for Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department.

Oxycodone is a legal substance in the US and Japan, but it can only be imported into Japan if it is carried by a person who has a legitimate prescription.

Ms Hamp, 55, was appointed communications chief in April as part of a drive to diversify Toyota’s male-dominated, mostly Japanese executive line-up.

She joined Toyota’s North American unit in 2012 having previously been an executive at General Motors and PepsiCo.

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