Japan's Abe refuses to deny that he nominated Trump for Nobel Peace Prize

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has refused to deny that he nominated US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in helping to ease tensions with North Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has refused to deny that he nominated US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in helping to ease tensions with North Korea. 

Speaking in the lower house of parliament Monday, Abe pointedly declined to comment on Trump's claim last week that he had submitted the nomination to the Nobel committee.

"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.

"I'll continue to (offer) my utmost cooperation to President Trump to solve the North Korean nuclear and missile issues and the abduction issue, which is the most important ... for Japan," said Abe.

"With that in mind, as for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee has decided not to disclose nominators and nominees for 50 years. I would like to refrain from commenting on it, based on that fact." 

Abe's comments follow a report in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper on Sunday, alleging the Japanese leader made the recommendation after the US government "informally" sought his support for the prestigious award in the wake of the historic US-North Korean summit in Singapore last June. 

A second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is scheduled to be heldon February 27 and 28 in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the Asahi report.