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William Pesek

Toyota's Drug Problem, and Japan's

An executive's arrest spotlights the country's insular business culture.
Toyota Beats GM In Worldwide Sales In Second Quarter Of 2008
Photographer: David McNew/Getty Images

Toyota has a drug problem. The company and CEO Akio Toyoda are dealing with the fallout from a bizarre case surrounding his newly promoted head of global public relations, Julie Hamp.

It all started on June 18, when Hamp, an American who moved to Japan earlier this year, was arrested for allegedly having a controlled drug sent to her from Michigan. The powerful painkiller oxycodone is a relatively common prescription drug in the U.S., but is designated as a narcotic in Japan, where users need permission to import it.