Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declined to reveal Monday whether he nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize but lauded the U.S. leader for his efforts to defuse the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
“I’m not saying it’s untrue,” Abe told a Budget Committee session of Japan’s Lower House. “The Nobel committee doesn’t reveal who submits nominations, or those who were nominated, for 50 years.
“In accordance with this policy, I’d like to refrain from commenting.”
Abe credited Trump with responding to North Korea’s nuclear efforts “in a decisive manner.” Abe also said Trump conveyed to Kim Jong Un the urgency of resolving the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.
Nominations were due to the Norwegian Nobel Committee by Feb. 1. Trump said Friday that Abe had nominated him.
“Abe 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.'”
The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported that the U.S. government “informally” asked Tokyo to nominate Trump for the 2019 prize after Trump met with Kim in Singapore in June. The meeting was the first-ever summit between the two countries.
Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet again next week in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.
Trump was asked why he merited nomination for the iconic prize by the Japanese leader.
“Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan,” Trump responded. “They had alarms going off. You know that. Now, all of a sudden they feel good. They feel safe. I did that.”