Japan's leader reportedly nominated Trump for Nobel Prize at Washington's urging

Arturo Kim
February 19, 2019

Citing multiple Japanese government sources, Asahi Shimbun reported that the US had "informally" asked Japan to nominate Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize after he met with the Leader of North Korea in Singapore a year ago.

Questioned in parliament about reports he had done so, Mr Abe said: "In light of the Nobel Committee's policy of not disclosing recommenders and nominees for 50 years, I decline to comment".

"I'm not saying that it is not the fact", Abe said, adding that the US President had been working to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile development, and that he "highly" appreciated his leadership.

"You can't comment on (the report), which I believe means you actually nominated" Trump for the prize, Tamaki said.

Mr Trump claimed last Friday Mr Abe had nominated him for the honour and sent him a copy of the letter, raising both questions and criticism in Japan.

Neither the Prime Minister nor his spokesman denied Mr Trump's comment. "North Korea summit talks", he said.

Mr Trump, a Republican, capped off a rambling Rose Garden news conference with a well-oiled gripe that former Democratic President Barack Obama, a nemesis, won the Nobel Prize in 2009, just months into his first term in office.

Mr Trump claims Mr Abe nominated him for the prestigious award and sent him a copy of the letter, following a White House request.

Abe also told parliament he will do everything possible to work with Trump to resolve the North Korean nuclear and missile problems as well as the abduction issue. The Nobel committee's website says there are 304 candidates for the 2019 prize, 219 individuals and 85 organisations.

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The deadline each year for Nobel Peace Prize nominations is midnight, January 31.

Mr. Abe praised Mr. Trump on Monday in a lower house budget committee meeting.

The Japanese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Mr. Trump's landmark June 2018 summit with Mr. Kim in Singapore was replete with pomp but thin on substance.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is pushing to improve ties with North Korea, weighed in Monday, saying through a spokesman that Trump deserved the prize.

The surprising anecdote came as he hailed Pyongyang's "tremendous" economic potential and his "great relationship" with Kim ahead of a second scheduled summit between the two leaders late next week. The spokesman, Kim Eui-keum, said that as far as he knows, Moon hadn't done so.

Nobel prizes are usually announced in October but awarded annually on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, who gives his name to the awards.

Last year's prize was jointly awarded to Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad.

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