Kent E. Calder, director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, noted in an interview with the Nikkei Shimbun that the Japan-U.S. nuclear energy treaty, which will expire in 2018, “may become the first Japan-U.S. issue that the administration of President-elect Trump may face [after its inauguration].” While he mentioned that the likelihood of the pact being extended is high, he said that developments need to be watched carefully.
The treaty acknowledges the peaceful use of plutonium and is a key plank in Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle policy that is designed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power stations.
The Obama administration has taken a negative stance toward the reprocessing and the possession of plutonium as an advocate for a “world free of nuclear weapons.” But Calder analyzed that “Trump would not be that stringent.”
With regards to nuclear power generation, Calder pointed out that “(Trump) will not prioritize this unless it is economically reasonable.” He predicts that Trump will push policies that promote the use of coal, petroleum and natural gas to broaden support from the energy industry. (Slightly abridged)