About Us

Executive Research Fellow

Executive Research Fellow
Executive Research FellowAOKI KentaFirst name:Kenta Family name:AOKI
kenta.aoki.01★meij.or.jp (Please replace ★ with @)

Research Interests

Contemporary Politics of Afghanistan and Iran, International Security, Indo-Pacific Connectivity Strategy

Professional Experiences

-Executive Research Fellow, Middle East Institute of Japan, Tokyo, Japan (Apr 2023 - Today)
-Senior Research Fellow, Middle East Institute of Japan, Tokyo, Japan (Jan 2023 - Mar 2023)
-Research Fellow, Middle East Institute of Japan, Tokyo, Japan (Jul 2019 - Dec 2022)
-Lecturer, Global Collaboration Center, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo, Japan (Apr 2015 - Jun 2019)
-Analyst, Second Division, Intelligence Analysis Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Tokyo, Japan (Jun 2013 - Mar 2015)
-Second Secretary, The Embassy of Japan in Afghanistan, Kabul, Afghanistan (Dec 2011 - Jun 2013)
-DIAG Coordinator, National Area Based Development Program (NABDP, UNDP), Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Kabul, Afghanistan (Jul 2009 - Dec 2011)


-M.A. in Peace Studies, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford, United Kingdom (Oct 2004 - Dec 2005)
-B.A. in Sociology, Faculty of Literature, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan (Apr 1997 - Mar 2001)


-A Portrait of "Crossroads of Civilizations": The True Face of Afghanistan, Kobunsha, 2023.
-The Resurgence of the Taliban: Contemporary History of Afghanistan in Turmoil, Iwanami Shoten, 2022.
-"The Quad Plus and Promoting International Connectivity: A Focus on the Makran Region," Jagannath P. Panda and Ernest Gunasekara-Rockwell eds., Quad Plus and Indo-Pacific: The Changing Profile of International Relations, Routledge, 2021, pp.249-262.
-"Chabahar: The Fault-line in India-Japan Infrastructure Cooperation," Jagannath P. Panda eds., Scaling India-Japan Cooperation in Indo-Pacific and Beyond 2025: Corridors, Connectivity and Contours, KW Publishers, December 2019, pp.264-283.
-"Afghan Local Police and Statebuilding," Hybrid Statebuilding: Bridging Liberal Internationalizm and Local Ownership, Nakanishiya Shuppan, Feb 2019.

-"The Global South in Iran's Foreign Policy: The Transformation of the International Order and Diversification of Iran's Diplomacy," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.3(549), Jan 2024, pp.16-27.
-"The Afghanistan Affairs: A Japanese Perspective," Amina Khan (ed), Afghanistan Monitor, Vol.5, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), December 2023, pp.24-27.
-"Iran pursuing multi-faceted diplomacy: Strengthening relations with China," Diplomacy, Vol.81, Sep 2023, pp.100-105.
-"Background and Prospects of the Agreement on Normalization of Iran-Saudi Arabia Relations: Iran's Strategic Perspective and Possible Aims," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.2(548), Sep 2023, pp.73-83.
-"Developments in Iran-Russia Relations: Focusing on Iran's "Look to the East" policy," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.3(546), Jan 2022, pp.29-41.
-"Whereabouts of Taliban's Governance in Afghanistan: Unique political system and emerging issues," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.3(546), Jan 2023, pp.102-123.
-"Developments and Prospects of Afghanistan-China Relations: Impact on Regional Affairs after the Resurgence of Taliban," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.1(544), May 2022, pp.11-23.
-"The U.S. Troop Withdrawal and the Resurgence of Taliban: Factors Behind the Collapse of the Afghan Government in 2021," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.3(543), Jan 2022, pp.144-159.
-"The Collapse of the Afghan Government: Implications for the Indo-Pacific," Indo-Pacific Perspectives, December 2021, pp.31-35.
-"Trump and U.S. Foreign Policy toward the Middle East: Focusing on Military Withdrawal and Hardline Policy toward Iran," The Journal of International Security, Vol.49(2), Sep 2021, pp.59-78.
-"State-Building and Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan: A Case of Governance in Areas of "Limited Statehood"," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.2(542), Sep 2021, pp.95-101.
-"Pakistan–Afghanistan–Iran Triangularity and the Quad Plus: Countering China’s Growing Influence," Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, Vol.3, No.5, Special Issue, December 2020, pp.285-300.
-"Taliban's Political and Military Policies: Challenges for Substantializing Islamic Governance," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.1(538), May 2020, pp.64-77.
-"Infrastructure Development and Regional order in 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific': Comparative Analysis on Chabahar and Gwadar," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Middle East Trend 2019), March 2020, pp.964-985.
-"Basic Facts for Understanding Iran," Diplomacy, Vol.59, Jan 2020, pp.30-33.
-"2019 Iran Petrol Protests and the Repercussions: Factors, Characteristics, and Widening Economic Gap," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.2(537), Jan 2020, pp.76-89.
-"The Peace Process in Afghanistan after the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops," Diplomacy, Vol.54, Mar 2019, pp.76-81.
-"2018 Wolesi Jirga Election in Afghanistan and the Prospects for the Political Process," Report on Afghan Affairs, JETRO Institute of Developing Economics, Mar 2019, pp.9-13.
-"The Development of Chabahar Port and the Regional Order Building in the "Indo-Pacific"," The Journal of International Security, Vol.46(3), Dec 2018, pp.94-112.
-"Democratization and Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Afghanistan," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.2 (533), Sep 2018, pp.100-115.
-"Obama's Policy toward Afghanistan: Military and Peace Strategy toward Taliban and Way Forward," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.2(527), Sep 2016, pp.28-39.
-"Peace Talks between Taliban and the Afghan Government: Repercussions of Mullah Omar's Death," Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.2(524), Sep 2015, pp.95-106.
And many others.

-"Diversification of Iran’s Diplomacy and its Connectivity Strategies: Focusing on Chabahar Port and the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)," MEIJ Commentary No.4, March 2024.
-"Understanding Middle East’s "Tectonic Shift": Strategic Retreat of the US and the Emerging Middle East-led Diplomacy," MEIJ Commentary No.1, July 2023.
-"Developments in Iran-China Relations and Future Outlook," Middle East Analysis Report, October 20, 2020.
-"Iran’s Hardline Posture Regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal —The context and other aspects, with a focus on domestic factors– ," Middle East Analysis Report, August 23, 2019.


-"Diversification of Iran's Foreign Policy - A Japanese View," Webinar co-organized by the Middle East Institute of Japan and Gulf Research Center (GRC), December 6, 2023
-"Afghanistan Affairs - a Japanese View," Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), June 19, 2023 (Islamabad, Pakistan)