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International relations

US-Japan nuclear pact renewed, but with quick repeal option

Tokyo's exemption for spent-fuel reprocessing under scrutiny

Most of Japan's nuclear power plants are still shut after the disaster at the 2011 Fukushima disaster, leading to an increase in Japan's plutonium stockpile.

TOKYO -- The U.S.-Japan nuclear cooperation agreement that permits Japan's civilian use of plutonium was renewed Tuesday after its 30-year term expired. Going forward, the agreement can be canceled with just six months' notice, leaving Tokyo's energy program vulnerable to policy shifts in Washington.

The 1988 agreement, which allows energy-scarce Japan to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium, stated that after the three-decade period expired, the terms would remain in force but could be terminated by either side with a six months' notice. 

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