Japanese Prime Minister Shinza Abe did not deny nominating American President Donald Trump for Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in helping North Korea calm tensions.
In his comments in the lower house of parliament on Monday, Abe refused to make any comment on Trump’s insistence that he had submitted nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize committee.
According to Abe: “I’m not saying that it is not the fact,” saying that the American President had worked hard enough to help curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile development. He added that he “highly” appreciated Trump’s leadership in the matter.
“I’ll continue to (offer) my utmost cooperation to President Trump to solve the North Korean nuclear and missile issues and the abduction issue, which is the most important for Japan,” said Abe.
“With that in mind, as for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee has decided not to disclose nominators and nominees for 50 years. I would like to refrain from commenting on it, based on that fact.”
It was alleged on Sunday in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that Abe made the recommendation after the US government sought his support for the award in the wake of the US-North Korean summit which was held in June last year.
Another summit between Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un is scheduled later in February in Hanoi the Vietnamese capital.
Despite the claim by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the White House has not responded to a request for comments on the matter.
Donald Trump has on Friday said that Abe had made the nomination and that he [Trump] had received “the most beautiful” letter which is a copy of the nomination Abe sent to the Nobel Prize nominating committee in Oslo.
“Prime Minister Abe of Japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize,” Trump said.
“He said ‘I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize. You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan,’” Trump added.
According to reports, there are 304 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize Award for 2019, the highest number ever in the history of the award. Nominations for the prize must have reached the organization by February 1.
Since taking office in the last two years, Abe has been one of Trump’s closest stalwart, and he was the first to meet the newly inaugurated President.
October is the time when the Nobel Prizes are usually announced but awarded on December 10, the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel, from whose name the awards have been crafted.
Should Trump win the award, if he was truly nominated by the Japanese Prime Minister, he’d be the fifth US President to win the award. Barack Obama was the last US President to win the award in 2009 shortly after he took office.