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The government has unofficially named former university professor Hiroko Ota as a senior economic official at the Cabinet Office in charge of analyzing Japan’s economic health, officials said Monday.

Ota, 50, who will succeed Mitsuru Taniuchi on April 1, is the first woman to assume the post of director general in charge of analyzing the state of the economy and issuing annual government white papers on economic and fiscal issues.

Taniuchi, 54, will retire this month to take a post as a professor at Waseda Uni versity.

Ota is currently a director at the Cabinet Office. She joined the government in 2002 after working as an associate professor at Saitama University and as a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

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