Toyota Executive Resigns After Being Arrested for Drug Possession

August 27, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. executive / ɪgˈzɛk yə tɪv /  (n.) – a person in charge of managing people in a company
Example: One of the company’s executives will treat the employees to dinner.

2. intercept /ˌɪn tərˈsɛpt / (v.) – to take something before it is transferred from one place to another
Example: The police intercepted a suspicious package addressed to the mayor.

3. prescribe / prɪˈskraɪb / (v.) – to recommend the use of medicine to someone
Example: The doctor prescribed an antibiotic for his illness.

4. soothe / suð / (v.) – to lessen pain
Example: A massage can soothe sore muscles.

5. veteran /ˈvɛt ər ən/ (n.) – a person with a long experience in an occupation, sport, etc.
Example: She joined the company in 2001 and is considered one of the veterans.


Read the text below.
Toyota executive Julie Hamp recently resigned after being arrested for possession of illegal drugs.

Hamp, who started working in Toyota in 2012, was the company’s top ranking female executive. She was also the company’s first foreign executive who was permanently transferred in Japan. Before her arrest and resignation, Hamp was promoted as Toyota’s chief communications officer.

On June 18, Japanese authorities arrested Hamp after they intercepted a package consisting of 57 tablets of oxycodone [ok-si-KOH-dohn]. Oxycodone is a popularly prescribed painkiller in the United States. However, possession of this drug without a prescription is illegal in Japan. Importing the drug from other countries also requires special permission from Japanese authorities.

In her defense, Hamp explained to the police that she had her father send the painkillers only to soothe her knee pain. She added that she was not aware that doing so is against the Japanese law.

To defend Hamp, Toyota President Akio Toyoda apologized on national television, saying that he believes it was not Hamp’s intention to violate the Japanese law. In a statement, President Toyoda called her a friend who played a valuable role in the company. With her resignation, Hamp will be replaced by company veteran Shigeru Hayakawa.

On July 8, the Japanese authorities released Hamp after prosecutors decided not to charge her. Although the prosecutors did not give their reason, legal experts predicted that Hamp’s resignation may have been a factor. After her release, Hamp refused to say anything to the reporters.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you think Julie Hamp’s arrest will affect Toyota?
·         If you were Julie Hamp, would you also resign from your position in Toyota? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you think being unfamiliar with a law is an acceptable excuse for breaking it? Defend your answer.
·         What types of violations do you think should not be pardoned? Please discuss your answer.

August 27, 2015