Hitoshi Hirata, Chief Representative, Bangladesh Office of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Mr. Hirata's more than 20 years of experience in the field of development began in the Private Investment and Lending Division of the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund of Japan (OECF), which he joined in 1989 after earning a B.A. in Law at Keio Gijuku University in Japan.
Bangladesh played a prominent role at the start of his career. One of his earliest assignments at the OECF was a Bangladeshi project, the KAFCO fertilizer factory, and his first business trip was to Bangladesh in 1990, as a member of an appraisal and examination team which visited the site at which the factory was to be constructed.
After that, he did not have contact with Bangladesh until 2016, when he came back to Dhaka as Senior Deputy General of Personnel Department of JICA to monitor the condition of staff after the terrorist attack at the Holly Artisan.
In the decades between the two visits, Mr. Hirata worked on diverse development projects in Asia and Europe.
Three times, Mr. Hirata was in charge of Indonesian development: During the President Soeharto era from 1990 to 92, after the Asian Crisis between 2000 and 2003, and during the President Yudhoyono era between 2008 and 2010.
Indonesian projects he worked on include infrastructure development (the first Mass Rapid Transit project in Jakarta), policy lending, and higher education.
When the Asian Crisis badly affected the Indonesian economy, he acted to support economic stabilization, an experience which gave him useful insight when facing the subsequent financial crisis in 2008. When that crisis caused the Jakarta stock exchange to close for one week, Mr. Hirata worked with the Ministry of Finance of Indonesia and the World Bank to quickly formulate a macro economy stabilization package by using fast disbursement program loans.
Mr. Hirata has had on-the-ground experience in France and Cambodia.
As representative of the OECF Paris Office between 1995 and 1998, he handled projects in the transitional economies of Central and Eastern Europe, one of which was to start reconstruction projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina just after the Dayton Treaty was signed in December 1995.
Mr. Hirata was senior representative in JICA's Cambodia office for three years, starting in 2010, when Japanese direct foreign investment in Cambodia started to show rapid growth. He managed several projects to promote one-stop services for private companies considering future investment in the country, and to improve efficiency and transparency in the Customs Department in order to improve the investment climate in Cambodia.
In addition, Mr. Hirata has held a number of senior management positions at headquarters in Japan: Secretary and advisor to the President of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) from July 2005 to September 2008; Senior Deputy Director General for Accounting, Treasury, Financing Department, in JICA from October 2013 to March 2015; Senior Director General for General Department from 2015 to 2017; and Director General for Knowledge Management in Personnel Department between October 2016 and July 2018.
Mr. Hirata became Chief Representative of JICA's Bangladesh Office in August 2018. He greatly looks forward to working for the sustainable development in Bangladesh.