Heizo Takenaka is a professor emeritus at Keio University and the former Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications (2001-2006) of Japan. In his capacity as an economist, he also serves on several advisory boards and committees, including: Member of the Policy Council under the Suga Administration; Director, Academy Hills; Chairman, Pasona Group Inc; Outside Director, Orix Corporation; and Independent Outside Director, SBI Holdings Inc. He also joined the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum in 2007. Professor Takenaka’s research interest is in economic policy.
In 2001, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi named Professor Takenaka the Minister for Economic/Fiscal Policy; in this office, he chaired the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy and steered macroeconomic policy. Over the next five and a half years, he spearheaded Japan’s economic structural reform. In 2002, Professor Takenaka was named the Minister for both Financial Services and Economic/Fiscal Policy. In this capacity, he accomplished the disposal of non-performing loans of Japanese banks, which had hindered the Japanese economy for more than 10 years. In 2004, he was elected to the House of Councilors and was named the Minister for both Economic/Fiscal Policy and the Privatization of Postal Services. In this capacity, he realized the privatization of Japan Post, the biggest public enterprise in Japan. In 2005, he was named the Minister for both Internal Affairs and Communication, and Privatization of the Postal Services. The following year, Professor Takenaka returned to academia, leaving both the Cabinet and the House of Councilors when Prime Minister Koizumi resigned.
Professor Takenaka received his B.A. in economics from Hitotsubashi University and his Ph.D in economics from Osaka University. He started his academic career in 1981 as a visiting scholar at both Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania.