The US Department of Energy (DOE) and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology have entered a partnership to accelerate the commercialisation of nuclear fusion energy, during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the US.

US Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk and Japan’s Minister of Education, Sports, Science and Technology Masahito Moriyama signed the agreement, which aims to advance the US Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy and Strategy for International Partnerships in a New Era of Fusion Development, as well as the Japan Fusion Energy Innovation Strategy.

Japan and the US have collaborated on fusion energy since the establishment of the Coordinating Committee on Fusion Energy in 1979. A 2013 intergovernmental agreement further served this relationship, along with their mutual partnership in the ITER multinational fusion project.

In a joint statement published during Kishida’s official trip to Washington, the Japanese Prime Minister and US President Joe Biden said that Japan and the US “are further leading the way in developing and deploying next generation clean energy technology, including fusion energy development”.

The two nations will also look to “expand and modernise power grids and energy infrastructure” and “expand the use of market-based power purchase agreements by companies and industries to assist access to clean energy, including from both large nuclear reactors and advanced and small modular reactors (A/SMRs), as they attempt to meet their own decarbonisation goals and drive innovation in power intensive industries such as Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, and data centres”.

The US is supportive of Japan’s move to restart its domestic nuclear power industry, with the statement noting that “the United States applauds the prime minister’s plan to restart nuclear reactors to meet its 2030 decarbonisation goal”.

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During Kishida’s visit to Washington, the two countries also agreed to partner on reducing costs associated with offshore floating wind projects, with Japan becoming the first international partner in the US Floating Offshore Wind Shot initiative.