Naoko AOKI

Associate Political Scientist, RAND Corporation

Naoko Aoki is an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation. She has worked on a variety of security issues in the Indo-Pacific region, including Japanese foreign and security policies, American alliances in Asia, the North Korean nuclear problem, nuclear dynamics in the region as well as policies regarding emerging technologies. 

Prior to joining RAND, Aoki was a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Her professional experience includes a nuclear security fellowship at the House of Representatives. She was also a 2018–2019 Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow and an adjunct political scientist at RAND. Additionally, she was an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), American University, University of Maryland, and University of Southern California’s Washington DC program.

She was formerly a journalist with Japan’s Kyodo News, reporting on the Japanese government from Tokyo before serving as a Beijing correspondent. She has visited North Korea 18 times on reporting trips. She holds a Ph.D. in policy studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, an M.A. in international relations and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University SAIS, and a B.A. in English from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. 

Research interests: Indo-Pacific, China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, East Asia Nuclear security, nuclear deterrence, arms control, U.S. alliances, security cooperation, emerging technology policy, diplomacy, politics and government