While Japanese and U.S. officials expect little change in the U.S.-Japan relationship following Tuesday's midterm elections, experts are divided on what a Republican-controlled Congress means for Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and, ultimately, for reaching a deal before the 2016 presidential election.

A long-standing belief among U.S. and Japanese policy experts is that Republican-led Congresses generally mean less protectionist trade policies. But in the case of TPP, where the U.S. and Japan remain deadlocked over agricultural and auto issues, frustration in Washington, especially in Congress, has grown to the point where some experts are speculating about concluding a TPP agreement without Japan.

"Because Japan has most-favored relations with most TPP parties, many U.S. exporters expect gains in market access. That is, terms of trade would improve with Japan in more ways than with TPP partners that already have free-trade agreements with the U.S.," said Scott Miller, senior adviser at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.