Japan and the United States extended a bilateral nuclear agreement Tuesday that has served as the basis for Tokyo's push for policies emphasizing the recycling of nuclear fuel.

The pact, which entered into force in July 1988, has authorized this nation to reprocess spent fuel, extract plutonium and enrich uranium for 30 years. As neither side sought to review it before the end of its term the deal will remain effective, leaving Japan the only country without nuclear arms that is allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

The passing of the initial 30-year period does raise uncertainty over the future of the pact, as it can now be terminated at any time six months after either party notifies the other.