Kazuo Oki received his PhD in urban and regional planning at University of Tsukuba in 1997. His previous experiences included stints as a lecturer at graduate school of agricultural and life sciences, the University of Tokyo, as an Visiting Scientist at European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Italy, as a Deputy Director for Environment and Energy at the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, and as an associate professor at the Institute of Industrial Science of the University of Tokyo.
Kazuo’s research activities concern the development of remote or drone sensing methodology for hydrology, water resources, and crop production, linking to various water quality and biological models with remotely sensed imagery, and also the development and dissemination of an environmentally advanced basin model in Southeast Asia that takes into consideration the balance of water, food and energy in response to climate change.
Most recently, Kazuo was part of a project in Arizona that analyzed growth patterns and optimal growing conditions of pecan nuts. This research was conducting through measurement, specifically capturing images of the plantation through a drone. He has been pioneering the use of drones, which offer abundant benefits over the previously used satellites: higher screen resolution allowing for more detail, higher frequency of measurement (daily measurement is possible) as well as the ability to gather data in bad weather. Specifically, with regards to pecan nuts, satellite images cannot capture instances where the various types of pecan nuts have mixed. Finally, he has even been working to use drones in keeping away crows, who enjoy snacking on the nuts, from the plantation.
An avid baseball fan, he enjoys watching his favorite team, the Yomiuri Giants.