Hiroko Ota, Professor of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), received her B.A. from Hitotsubashi University in Sociology in 1976. She was Associate Professor at Saitama University in 1996, and then at GRIPS in 1997. She became Professor at GRIPS in 2001. From 2004-05 Ms. Ota served as Director General for the Cabinet Office. In 2006 she was appointed as Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy for the Abe Cabinet, then for the Fukuda Cabinet in 2007. In 2008 Ms. Ota returned to GRIPS as Professor of Economics. Her specialties are Economic Policy and Public Finance Policy. She has served as an outside director of Mizuho Financial Group (Chairman of the board of directors), Panasonic Corporation, JX Holdings, Inc.