"If North Korea performs denuclearization and destroys missiles, President Trump will certainly deserve a [Nobel] Peace Prize," Kono said, as quoted by Kyodo news agency.
At the same time, Kono noted that there was so far little progress in the denuclearization process.
At the same time, Kono refused to confirm or deny the reports that Abe had nominated the US president for the peace prize.
His remarks come after Japan's Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had nominated Trump for the prestigious award in the fall after getting an "informal" request from Washington via unofficial channels. The report came just days after Trump claimed at a White House press conference on Friday that Abe had allegedly put his name up for consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize. Abe later refused to directly answer a question about whether he had, in fact, nominated Trump.
The first ever US-North Korean summit last year resulted in an agreement stipulating that North Korea would make efforts to promote complete denuclearization in exchange for the United States and South Korea freezing their military drills as well as the potential removal of US sanctions. Since then, Pyongyang has been waiting for Washington to fulfil the agreements reached, while the US administration has been unhappy with Pyongyang's lack of progress on nuclear disarmament.
A second summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea is set to take place in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on February 27-28.