Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opted to neither deny nor confirm reports that he put forward US President Donald Trump's name for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to easing tensions surrounding the North Korea crisis.
"The Nobel Prize Committee has not disclosed the names of nominees and nominators for 50 years now. I would like to refrain from commenting on this issue," Abe said, speaking during a session of Japanese parliament's lower house.
"I did not say it was not a fact," Abe said, asked whether he had done so. He went on to praise the POTUS for his "leadership" in the North Korea de-nuclearisation efforts.
A chief government spokesperson is also said to have refused further comment.
Japan's Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday, citing a government source, that Abe nominated Trump for the award following an informal request.
On Friday, the US president told reporters that Abe showed him a letter he sent to the Nobel committee. "[Abe] said, 'I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Prize.'"
"He had rocket ships, and he had missiles flying over Japan, and they had alarms going off, you know that," Trump said. "Now all of a sudden, they feel good. They feel safe. I did that."
Last May, Trump stated that "everyone" believed he should get the Nobel Peace Prize for his accomplishments in resolving the North Korean crisis, adding that it had never been his goal and that the only reward he really wanted was "victory for the world." A month before that, South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested Trump should be given the award for settling the crisis.
The first ever US-North Korean summit last year resulted in an agreement stipulating that North Korea would make efforts to promote complete de-nuclearisation in exchange for the United States and South Korea freezing their joint military drills as well as the potential removal of US sanctions. A second Trump-Kim summit is set to take place in the Vietnamese capital on 27-28 February.