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Rail Symposium 2024

Value Creation for a Sustainable Society

A JITTI and APTA Co-hosted Event:


Thursday, April 11th

3:00- 6:00 PM

(Followed by a Reception)

A Free Hybrid Event:

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004


Virtually hosted in English and Japanese

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An Official Participating Event of the 2024 National Cherry Blossom Festival


The business environment surrounding passenger rail has changed dramatically in both Japan and the U.S. since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. Currently, demand for passenger rail has not returned to pre-pandemic levels in view of a diversification of work styles, including more remote work.


At the same time, we have witnessed significant milestones for the passenger rail industry in the past few years. The Biden administration in the U.S. has made a generational investment in rail and public transportation infrastructure under the IIJA (the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in November 2021). In Japan, high-speed rail projects such as the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension scheduled for March 2024 and development projects around terminal stations such as Shibuya in Tokyo and Umeda in Osaka are progressing smoothly.


As the world moves toward carbon neutrality, passenger rail is attracting attention as an environmentally friendly means of transportation. As natural disasters become more frequent, it is becoming increasingly important to strengthen urban resilience.


This symposium aims to present and discuss how the value of passenger rail (high speed, intercity, commuter, heavy and light rail) is being articulated and measured in both Japan and the U.S., reaffirming the social and economic role that passenger rail plays by connecting cities and enhancing their attractiveness and resilience.

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that this symposium covers:


Opening Remarks


Masafumi Shukuri

Chairman, Japan International Transport and Tourism Institute, USA (JITTI)

Chairman, Japan Transport and Tourism Research Institute (JTTRI)


Paul Skoutelas

President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association ( APTA)

Greetings by Guest of Honor (Video Message)

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Shigeo Yamada

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States of America

Keynote Speeches


Jennifer Mitchell

Deputy Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration

Masako Okano

Deputy Director-General of the Railway Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLIT)


Panel Discussion #1

The Economic Value That Passenger Rail Brings by Connecting Cities



Masaru Yosano

Corporate Officer, Chief General Manager Consulting and Coordination Office – Overseas High Speed Railway Project, Technology Planning Department, General Technology Division, JR Central


Satoko Okumura

Executive Director, East Japan Railway Company, Los Angeles Office


 Andy Byford

Senior Vice President, High Speed Rail Programs, Amtrak


Chad Edison

Chief Deputy Secretary, Rail and Transit, California State Transportation Agency



Chris Brady

Chair, APTA Committee on High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail;

Principal Commonwealth Research Associates, LLC

Panel Discussion #2

Enhancing Urban Attractiveness and Resilience



Masayoshi Uemura

Senior Managing Director (Urban Transportation Business), Hankyu Corporation


Noriyoshi Yamagami

Managing Executive Officer, Responsible for International Business Department, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd.


Catherine Rinaldi

President, MTA Metro-North Railroad


Holly Arnold

 Administrator, Maryland Transit Administration



Jennifer DeBruhl

Director, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation

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