Keynote Speech by Hon. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation (Summary) – 2015 Annual Conference

The following is a summary of the Keynote Speech by Hon. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, at the 2015 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference in November 2015. 

The Hon. Norman Mineta, President & CEO, Mineta & Associates, LLC; Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation; Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce introduced the Hon. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation and his career. Secretary Foxx thanked the U.S.-Japan Council for the work it does to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations, and described the foresight of leaders like Mr. Mineta in recognizing the future of U.S.-Japan relations despite World War II.

Secretary Foxx then described the New York City Marathon, in which a Japanese man, Yuki Kawauchi, and an American man, Meb Keflezighi, ran alongside each other, making it seem as if they were the only two runners in the race. Each runner later stated that having the other at his side encouraged him to run faster. Secretary Foxx said this was symbolic of the U.S.-Japan relationship, which is a natural alliance that is fueled by a competitive spirit. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Abe are the equivalents of the two runners, who work together for similar goals while still competing in the global economy. The Trans-Pacific Partnership represents an aspect of this relationship, and will increase trade between the United States, Japan, and the important Asia Pacific region with fair and transparent rules and high standards that protect labor and the environment.

Secretary Foxx also mentioned that transportation is an essential component of trade, and outlined his efforts to create a stronger and more efficient freight system in the United States through the draft National Freight Strategic Plan. There is a great need in both the United States and Japan to improve freight systems, due to transportation challenges related to the growing population in the United States and the increasing concentration of the Japanese population in urban areas. He described the G7 Transportation Ministers Meeting in Frankfurt and thanked Prime Minister Abe and Minister Keiichi Ishii for hosting an upcoming second meeting.

Secretary Foxx stated that President Obama and Prime Minister Abe are leading the way on climate change. He also called for transportation systems that are less reliant on road transportation, and mentioned that he and Minister Ishii signed a joint statement committing to increased cooperation with a focus on rail transportation. He also noted the importance of redesigning cities with well thought-out transportation systems, as well as the optimization of the use of technologies such as connected automation. He urged the Government of Japan and Japanese automakers to continue their efforts for connected and driverless vehicles.

Secretary Foxx closed by recalling Prime Minister Abe’s speech to the U.S. Congress, stating that it inspired all who heard it to reflect on the U.S.-Japan relationship that has deepened in the 70 years since World War II. He returned to the analogy of the runners, and said that the greatest asset we have is the spirit of our people in carrying our nations forward.

Click here to learn more about the 2015 Annual Conference.