Naofumi Hashimoto joined the Japanese Foreign Ministry in 1985. His career has been focused on the Middle East, with overseas service in Damascus (1986-88), Abu Dhabi(1989-91), Kuwait (2001-03), Baghdad (2008-09), Tel Aviv (2009) and Ramallah (2010-12). Before joining MEI as a scholar in September 2012, Hashimoto spent two years living in Ramallah as the Japanese Representative to Palestinian Authority. In that capacity, he supported the PA's statebuilding efforts with a strong focus on private sector development to help consolidate the economic basis for the future state. After his time at MEI, he returned to Tokyo for a tour in the Foreign Ministry and in August 2018 became Japan's Ambassador to Iraq.