With a career in international development, diplomatic management, and finance spanning three decades, Naoko Ishii currently holds responsibilities within the Japanese government as Deputy Vice Minister for the Ministry of Finance (MOF). In this position, Naoko Ishii reports directly to the Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, focusing on issues of global development, the environment, and financial cooperation among Asian nations.
Graduating from the University of Tokyo with a Bachelor of Science in Economics, Naoko Ishii spent much of the 1980s in economics-focused capacities with the MOF. As Section Chief of the International Finance Bureau from 1985 to 1987, she assisted in G7 country coordination of exchange rate, fiscal, and monetary policies. Ishii also led negotiations on financial sector liberalization between Japan and the United States. Serving as Deputy Director, Office of International Operations, with Japan’s National Tax Administration from 1987 to 1988, she continued her negotiations with the United States. At issue was transfer pricing taxation among Japanese automakers that maintained U.S. operations.
From 1992 to 1995, Naoko Ishii served as an Economist with the International Monetary Fund’s Policy Development and Review Department in Washington, D.C. Focusing on Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility negotiations with Kenya, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Uganda, she helped work through external-sector issues involving debt, trade, and exchange rate policies. Ishii subsequently spent nearly a year and a half as a Project Manager with the Harvard Institute for International Development, stewarding a pair of MOF-commissioned research projects. The completed work resulted in chapters included in two 1997 Harvard University papers: “Towards Economic Strategies for Rapid Growth in Mongolia” and “Development Strategies for Vietnam: Challenges to Prosperity.”
From 1997 to 2001, Naoko Ishii held a position with the World Bank’s East Asian and Pacific Department as its Vietnam Program Coordinator. She facilitated country-assistance strategies through a forward-looking and comprehensive development framework. In particular, she bridged gaps between field offices and the Washington, D.C. headquarters, regarding implementation and management of Vietnam programs.