Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declined on Monday to comment on a claim by U.S. President Donald Trump that he'd nominated the American leader for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, but did not deny the assertion, instead praising Trump's efforts to defuse the North Korean nuclear crisis.
The U.S. government had sounded Abe out over the Noble Peace Prize nomination after Trump's summit in June a year ago with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting U.S. president, the Asahi said, citing an unnamed Japanese government source.
He added the Japanese leader gave him "the most lovely copy" of a five page nomination letter.
Trump wasn't wrong about the nomination, Japanese newspaper Asahi reports, but he left out a key detail - Abe nominated Trump after the White House nudged him to. "I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize" ".
"If you believe the current situation in Northeast Asia is peaceful, I think it's a problem", Tamaki said. He said, "I thus decline comment".
Trump mentioned Abe's nomination during a press conference Friday, but made no mention of any USA request for a nomination to the Japanese government. "He held a historic meeting" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June, Abe told Monday's Budget Committee session.
The Japanese Defense Ministry's annual white paper released in August described North Korea as still posing a "grave and imminent" threat to the country.
A spokesman for Japan's Foreign Ministry in Tokyo told Reuters that it was aware of Trump's remarks but "would refrain from commenting on the interaction between the two leaders".
"The Nobel Committee for the last 50 years has not disclosed who recommended and who was recommended". There are 304 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019, the highest number ever, according to the organization. "Now, all of a sudden, they feel good".
In Seoul, a spokesman for President Moon Jae-in was asked if the South Korean leader might have been the one to nominate Trump.
Junya Ogawa, another opposition lawmaker, cited various policies and actions by Trump that he said ran contrary to the spirit of the peace prize, calling the nomination "an embarrassment for Japan". "With me, I probably will never get it".
'He didn't even know what he got it for.
Nominations for the highly-esteemed worldwide prize are due every February. The award was presented to his predecessor, Barack Obama, in 2009, shortly after he took office. That's a welcome development for Japan, which sits well within the range of its missiles and has sometimes had test rockets land in its territorial waters.