TIME Japan

Former Toyota Exec Arrested for Drug Violations Released in Japan

Julie Hamp
Yosuke Mizuno—AP Julie Hamp, the former highest-ranking woman executive of Toyota Motor Corp., leaves Harajuku police station after being released in Tokyo on July 8, 2015

She emerged from a Tokyo police building where she'd been detained looking solemn and tired

(TOKYO) — Toyota’s highest ranking woman executive until her arrest in Japan on suspicion of drug law violations was released from custody without charges Wednesday.

Julie Hamp, 55, who resigned last week from Toyota Motor Corp., was arrested June 18 on suspicion of importing oxycodone, a narcotic pain killer. The drug is tightly controlled in Japan.

She emerged from a Tokyo police building where she’d been detained looking solemn and tired. She was whisked away in a minivan.

Hamp, an American, was appointed three months ago as the head of public relations at the Japanese automaker, in a high-profile move that was highlighted by the Japanese automaker as promoting diversity.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that she arranged with her father to have 57 oxycodone pills sent air mail from the U.S. to a Tokyo hotel in June. They said this act was importation of a narcotic but decided not to pursue charges.

Japanese prosecutors are not obligated to publicly explain the reasons for their decisions. Legal experts say that a show of remorse and first-time offenders tend to win some leniency. Bringing in such a tightly controlled drug is a serious crime in Japan, often resulting in charges.

Toyota named a replacement for Hamp on Wednesday, tapping Shigeru Hayakawa, a senior managing officer and board member. Hayakawa, who joined Toyota in 1977, has experience in the company’s U.S. operations and is a communications veteran at the company.

Toyota reiterated its apology for the “confusion and concerns” Hamp’s arrest might have caused.

It again promised to promote qualified people, regardless of nationality, gender and age, as Toyota continues its efforts “to become a truly global company.”

Toyota President Akio Toyoda has defended Hamp, calling her an important member of the Toyota team. Company officials said they did not know her whereabouts or her plans.

Toyoda has acknowledged the company likely should have done more to help with her relocation as the first foreign executive to be permanently stationed in Japan.

Her arrest, a big embarrassment for Toyota, highlights missteps in its effort to diversify and become more international in its corporate culture.

Toyota’s top executives are predominantly Japanese males, although some progress has been made in recent years to promote foreigners. Hamp was the first high-profile woman promotion.

Sakae Komori, a lawyer who frequently handles drug-related cases, said it’s difficult to figure out why someone is charged or not charged. Suspects with smaller amounts of the same drug have been charged, he said.

“This is seen as a very serious crime in Japan,” he said, acknowledging that the decision may invite allegations of unfairness. “Perhaps the authorities see her as already facing enough social punishment, and she was not judged a drug abuser.”

Toyota is such a powerful company in Japan that anything it does, or anything that happens to it, can be seen as setting a precedent.

Komori said Hamp’s resignation from Toyota could have helped in winning her release.

Hamp, who joined Toyota in 2012, worked at its U.S. operations until her latest promotion. Before that, she worked for PepsiCo Inc. and General Motors Co.

Police raided the automaker’s headquarters in Toyota city, central Japan, as well as its Tokyo and Nagoya offices last month.

It is not unheard of for foreigners to be detained in Japan for mailing or bringing in medicine they used at home. Such drugs may be banned in Japan or require special approval. In Japan, suspects can be held in custody for up to 23 days without formal charges.

TIME Japan

Mount Fuji, Japan’s Tallest Mountain, Will Soon Have Wi-Fi

Mount Fuji Climbing Season Begins
Chris McGrath—Getty Images Climbers stop to take photographs along a trail to the summit of Mt Fuji on July 2, 2015 in Fujiyoshida, Japan

The move is both to spur tourism and enhance safety

It’ll soon be much easier to share your selfie on Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak. Officials in the local prefectures are installing free wi-fi for all hikers, an initiative designed to spur tourism on the iconic mountain.

The program is specifically aimed to encourage hikers from Europe and the U.S. to share experiences on the 3,776-m volcano through email and social media. There will be eight wi-fi hot spots in the vicinity, reports local daily Asahi Shimbun.

Overseas visitors have been increasing on the mountain in the past year, with between 40,000 and 50,000 tourists hiking along its trails.

According to Asahi Shimbun, the prefectures of Yamanashi and Shizuoka will work with Japanese telecom giant NTT Telecom Inc. to install the service. They then plan to hand out around 70,000 brochures to hikers with login instructions.

An official at the prefecture’s tourism division told the newspaper that the wi-fi wouldn’t just be there for promotional purposes — it will also allow hikers “to obtain weather and other information to ensure their safety.”

But slow hikers best beware — the service will only be available for 72 hours at a time.

[Asahi Shimbun]

TIME Soccer

See the Best Moments From U.S. Soccer’s Victory in the World Cup Final

Team U.S.A. trounced Japan 5-2 on Sunday, achieving their third world championship and the first since 1999.

TIME World Cup

America, Meet Soccer Star Carli Lloyd, Your Newest Sports Hero

in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Semi-Final Match at Olympic Stadium on June 30, 2015 in Montreal, Canada.
Minas Panagiotakis—Getty Images Carli Lloyd celebrates setting up Kelly O'Hara's goal in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Semi-Final Match at Olympic Stadium on June 30, 2015 in Montreal, Canada.

Her penalty, and perfect pass to second goal-scorer Kelly O'Hara, ensure a crucial U.S. victory in soccer's World Cup

Going into this year’s women’s World Cup, certain U.S. players stole the spotlight. Abby Wambach, the world’s all-time leading international goal scorer, trying to win her first World Cup in the twilight of her career. Forward Alex Morgan, heir to Mia Hamm. Goaltender Hope Solo, for all the off-field controversies.

But step aside, ladies. For this World Cup is now Carli Lloyd’s.

Lloyd, a two-time Olympic gold medal winner making her third World Cup appearance, is no stranger to soccer fans. But for the millions of more casual viewers tuning into America’s quest for its first World Cup since 1999, she’s now a water-cooler fixture. Lloyd has scored a goal in each of Team USA’s knockout-round victories on the way to the World Cup final, which will be played on July 5, when the U.S. will face the winner of Wednesday’s Japan-England semifinal.

Against Germany in Tuesday night’s semifinal, Lloyd’s second-half penalty kick gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Later, Lloyd stayed patient while dribbling in the goal box, waiting until Kelley O’Hara was in position to take her perfect pass and boot the insurance goal into the net. U.S. 2, Germany 0.

So America, if you’re not already invested in the World Cup, meet Carli Lloyd. A few quick essentials:

1. Lloyd has a history of shining in big moments: Sports Illustrated put her on the cover of its World Cup preview, with the tagline: “She’s Got Clutch.” No cover jinx in this World Cup — far from it. Lloyd scored the gold-medal winning goals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. All this bodes well for Team USA’s chances on Sunday.

2. Her ex-Team USA coach, Pia Sundhage, dissed Lloyd in a New York Times profile that ran earlier in the World Cup.

“Carli Lloyd was a challenge to coach, by the way,” Sundhage said offhandedly at one point, her fork dangling as she considered Lloyd, who is a top midfielder for the United States. “When she felt that we had faith in her, she could be one of the best players. But if she began to question that faith, she could be one of the worst.”

She took a bite of salad. “It was so delicate, so, so delicate,” she said.

But so, so good. If coaching Lloyd, 32, has been a challenge, it’s certainly been worth any headaches. Lloyd called Sundhage’s comments “confusing.” America and Sweden played to a 0-0 draw during the knockout stage of this year’s World Cup.

3. Lloyd, who grew up in southern New Jersey and attended Rutgers University, credits a lot of her success to training with a former Australian pro player named James Galanis, described by the Wall Street Journal as “paunchy and bespectacled,” and someone who “comes off like a wizard instructor from the Harry Potter films.” Lloyd was supposed to take a ski trip with some friends while she was at Rutgers; Galanis told her if she was serious about making the US team, she had to skip the vacation.

To the cheers of many Americans, Lloyd put in the work. All that’s left is a World Cup win.


Beloved Japanese Cat ‘Elevated to Status of Goddess’ at Lavish Funeral

Cat stationmaster Tama, superstar in western Japan, dies
Kyodo/AP Tama, a cat stationmaster of a railway station in western Japan, attends an event at her Kishi Station in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan in Jan., 2013.

Tama wasn't just any old cat to this community

The beloved rail station cat who died in Japan last week had a funeral fit for a goddess.

Rail officials and thousands of fans attended the funeral for Tama, who died last week after years of attracting tourists to a rail station in Western Japan. According to BBC, she was “elevated to the status of a goddess” at her Shinto-style funeral and titled an “honorary permanent stationmaster.”

The feline was more than just a cute addition to the station, BBC reports, she was also a cash cow. By having her as stationmaster, the railway was able to help turn around from near bankruptcy. Her presence helped generate about 1.1 billion yen.

As a thank you, well-wishers are leaving flowers and cans of tuna outside of the station.


TIME animals

Japan’s Cutest (Feline) Stationmaster Has Died at 16

School girls admire "Tama", a nine-year-
Toru Yamanaka—AFP/Getty Images Schoolgirls admire Tama as the feline sits on a ticket gate at Kishi Station in the city of Kinokawa, in Wakayama prefecture, Japan, on May 22, 2008

Tama is credited with stimulating the local economy and saving both her station and its train line

Like many of our most famous and beloved celebrities, she had only one name: Tama, a tortoiseshell renowned for her jaunty hat and cool smirk, was Japan’s most famous (and only) feline train stationmaster. She died Monday at an animal hospital in Wakayama prefecture aged 16, having worked at her post in a converted ticket booth in Kishi Station for almost eight years.

Tama first rose to fame when she was appointed stationmaster at Kishi, a secluded hamlet of at the end of a rail line that had changed hands after closing from disuse, CNN reports. She was whisked away from a simple life at the village grocery store and given a new perch at the station entrance, soon to find herself on posters, T-shirts, stickers and even the center of a themed café.

It didn’t take long for stardom to come knocking. The number of passengers on the train line jumped from 1.92 million in 2005 to 2.27 million in 2014, according to the Japan Times. In fact, the new stationmaster had so many visitors that an Osaka University study estimates that Tama’s popularity added $10 million into the local economy. Many credit her for single-handedly saving both the station and its train line.

Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka paid tribute to Tama in a statement to the Japan Times, saying the late stationmaster “contributed greatly to promoting tourism in our prefecture. I am filled with deep sorrow and appreciation.”

Tama is survived by her apprentice, Nitama, who takes her workload of eating, sleeping and upholding the local economy as seriously as her illustrious predecessor. Tama’s funeral will be held at Kishi Station on June 28.


TIME Japan

Japanese Police Raid Toyota HQ After Busting a Top American Executive for Prescription Drugs

Toyota Motor Corp's Managing Officer and Chief Communications Officer Julie Hamp speaks to media during a news conference in  Nagoya, central Japan
KYODO — Reuters Toyota Motor Corp's Managing Officer and Chief Communications Officer Julie Hamp speaks to media during a news conference in Nagoya, central Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2015 and released by Kyodo on June 18, 2015

Julie Hamp was arrested on June 18 on suspicion of importing oxycodone (better known by the brand name Oxycontin), which is restricted in Japan

Police conducted a sweeping raid of Toyota’s Japanese headquarters Wednesday after an American executive was arrested on suspicion of importing a controlled substance.

Toyota’s most senior female executive, Julie Hamp, was arrested on June 18 after being accused of mailing herself oxycodone pills in a package, the BBC reports.

A powerful opioid, oxycodone is more popularly known by the brand name Oxycontin and is notorious for its addictive qualities. It belongs in a class of drugs responsible for what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called a “prescription painkiller overdose epidemic” in the United States.

Although it can be legally consumed in the U.S. if prescribed by a doctor, the drug is strictly regulated in Japan. Hamp claims that she takes oxycodone for knee pain, according to the BBC.

The President of the company, Akio Toyoda, doesn’t believe that Hamp intended to break the law, the BBC adds.

Authorities didn’t say what exactly they were looking for in the raid. A Toyota spokesman told Reuters that the company could not comment on the ongoing investigation.


TIME India

Japan’s Softbank to Invest $20 Billion in Solar-Energy Projects in India

Son, founder and chief executive officer of Japan's SoftBank Corp., Arora, president of SoftBank Corp. and Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises, shake hands before the start of a news conference in New Delhi
Adnan Abidi—Reuters From right: Masayoshi Son, right, founder and CEO of SoftBank; Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises; and Nikesh Arora, president of SoftBank, shake hands before the start of a news conference in New Delhi on June 22, 2015

"Twice the sunshine, half the cost"

The Japanese telecoms giant Softbank has announced plans to invest around $20 billion in solar-energy-power projects in India, joining forces with the country’s Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn as the Indian government targets a massive expansion in the country’s solar output from some 3 gigawatts today to 100 gigawatts by 2022.

Announcing Softbank’s plans, the company’s chief executive Masayoshi Son said, “India can become probably the largest country for solar energy,” Reuters reports.

“India has two times the sunshine of Japan. The cost of construction of the solar park is half of Japan. Twice the sunshine, half the cost, that means four times the efficiency,” Son said. The Softbank venture is aiming at generating least 20 gigawatts of energy — a goal which, if realized, will be a significant boost to Modi’s plans to develop India’s renewable energy infrastructure.

India is one of the world’s largest carbon polluters; coal dominates the country’s energy mix, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Since coming to power last year, Modi, who was behind the country’s first solar incentives during his time as the chief minister of the western Indian stage of Gujarat, has driven green energy up the national energy agenda with ambitious targets for solar and for wind power. Speaking to TIME earlier this year, he reiterated this desire, saying: “There is going to be a heavy focus on using energy that is environment friendly.”

India’s big push toward clean energy generation comes ahead of the Paris climate summit that is scheduled later this year, during which leaders from around the world converge under one roof for climate-change negotiations aimed at thrashing out a successor to the Kyoto protocol to keep global temperatures in check.

TIME conflict

The Gory Way Japanese Generals Ended Their Battle on Okinawa

Landing On Okinawa
J. R. Eyerman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Soldiers of US 10th Army march inland after securing beachheads following the last amphibious assault landings of WWII as vessels from the Allied fleet patrol the waters off of Okinawa, Japan, April 1945.

'The Generals opened their blouses, unbuckled their belts'

When the World War II battle over the Japanese island of Okinawa officially ended 70 years ago today, on June 22, 1945, it had secured its place as the bloodiest clash in the Central and Western Pacific fronts. TIME’s initial estimate a few days later was that more than 98,000 Japanese people had been killed and nearly 7,000 Americans were dead or missing.

Two men were not among that haunting count. It wasn’t until weeks later, in its July 9 issue, that TIME reported on what happened to Lieut. Gen. Mitsuru Ushijima and Lieut. Gen. Isamu Cho, based on the tale told by the soldier who cooked their last meal:

On a narrow ledge overlooking the sea at the southern end of Okinawa the two Generals whispered to each other. They knelt side by side on a patchwork quilt covered by a white sheet (the color of death). Ushijima’s aide stepped forward, bowed, handed each General a gleaming knife. The knives had been half covered with white cloth, so that the aide did not touch the sacred metal.

The Generals opened their blouses, unbuckled their belts. Ushijima leaned forward and with both hands pressed the blade against his belly. One of his adjutants did not wait for the knife to plunge deep. With his razor-sharp saber he lopped off his superior’s head. General Cho leaned forward against his blade. The adjutant swung again. Orderlies took the bodies away.

General Cho had left his own epitaph: “Twenty-second day, sixth month, 20th year of Showa era. I depart without regret, fear, shame or obligation. Age on departure 51 years.”

As for the American forces, the battle closed in a much gentler fashion: to symbolize that the U.S. had conquered the island all the way to its farthest tip, Corporal John C. Corbett of the 8th Marines stood on a cliff and tossed a stone into the ocean.

Read more, from 1945, here in the TIME Vault: End on Okinawa

TIME Autos

American Toyota Executive Arrested for Drugs in Japan

Communications head allegedly tried to import oxycodone

Toyota’s chief communications officer was arrested in Japan Thursday for allegedly importing oxycodone. Julie Hamp, who took on the role as Toyota’s communications head in April, violated the country’s Narcotics Control Act by attempting to use an international parcel service to receive oxycodone, according to Tokyo Police. The substance is a prescription drug in the United States but banned in Japan.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the company should have done more to prepare Hamp for her relocation from the U.S. to Japan. “Through the investigation, I believe that we will learn she had no intent to violate the law,” he said.

[CNN Money]

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