Currently serving as Deputy Vice Minister of Japan’s Ministry of Finance (MOF), Naoko Ishii has three decades of experience in government and international organization for international development and financial policy. A 1981 graduate of the University of Tokyo with a B.S. in Economics, Naoko Ishii began her career as a staff member with the MOF’s Finance Bureau in Tokyo. In this capacity, she analyzed domestic national bond data used in policy decisions. She next completed a visiting scholar program at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, concentrating on G7 macroeconomic policy coordination issues under the guidance of Professor Jeffrey Sachs, which led to the joint publication of an NBER paper with him on the issue. Naoko Ishii put these studies to work as Section Chief of the MOF’s International Finance Bureau from 1985 to 1987, assisting in monetary, fiscal, and exchange rate policy coordination among G7 countries. Naoko Ishii administered United States-Japan negotiations on the liberalization of financial sectors, co-authoring a 1988 book titled The U.S.-Japan Economic Controversy.
From 1987 to 1989, Naoko Ishii served the National Tax Administration in various capacities. As Director of the Hirosaki Regional Tax Collection Office in Aomori Prefecture, she led a staff of 50 in tax collections. From 1989 to 1992, she held a position with the MOF as Deputy Director of the Tax Bureau. Her duties entailed leading public relations initiatives encompassing town hall meetings and mass media outlets for introduction of a new consumption tax.
For three years in the early 1990s, Naoko Ishii served as an Economist with the Washington, D.C.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF). Working within the Policy Development and Review Department, she engaged IMF Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility negotiations with Uganda, Kenya, and the Kyrgyz Republic. In these negotiations, Ishii concentrated on external sector issues such as trade, debt policy, exchange rate policy, and projection of balances of payments.
Naoko Ishii served as Project Manager with the Harvard Institute for International Development from 1996 to 1997, managing a pair of research projects commissioned by the MOF. She notably co-authored “Development Strategies for Vietnam: Challenges to Prosperity” and “Towards Economic Strategies for Rapid Growth in Mongolia,” both published by Harvard University in 1997. For the next four years, Ishii served as Vietnam Program Coordinator for the World Bank’s East Asian and Pacific Department. Before taking her current position, Naoko Ishii spent four years working with the World Bank as that organization’s Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives.