Naoki Saito started his career at the Science and Technology Agency (currently MEXT) in 1987 after receiving a master’s degree in Philosophy from the Graduate School of Arts and Science at the University of Tokyo.
During his earlier career, he served in various fields of science and technology policy, such as nuclear energy policy, space policy and human resources development, as well as holding the position of research director in international Science and Technology policy, regional innovation and industry–academia collaboration. He also worked at the Embassy of Japan in Australia as a first secretary and at the Bangkok office of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a director.
He previously served as Director of the Special Needs Education Division, Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, MEXT, from 2009 to 2010; as Director of Planning and Management at JST/RISTEX (the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society), between 2010 and 2012; and as Director of the Knowledge Infrastructure Policy Division of the Science and Technology Policy Bureau, MEXT, in 2012 and 2013; and as Deputy Director General of National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) between 2013 and 2018. He was appointed to his present position (RIKEN Yokohama Campus Director) in April 2018. He also holds a concurrent position in NISTEP as an Affiliated Fellow.
Naoki Saito was an acting member of Sitra’s international advisory panel in 2017-2019.