Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declined to confirm President Donald Trump’s claim that he’d nominated the U.S. leader for a Nobel Prize — but he didn’t call him a liar either.
“I’m not saying it’s untrue,” Abe reportedly told his nation’s Budget Committee. The Japanese leader has credited the U.S. for intervening in Japan’s tensions with neighboring North Korea.
The Japanese newspaper Asahi reported Sunday that indeed their nation’s government had nominated Trump, but only after the U.S. government asked them to do so.
“The Nobel committee doesn’t reveal who submits nominations, or those who were nominated, for 50 years,” Abe said Monday. “In accordance with this policy, I’d like to refrain from commenting.”
During a rambling Rose Garden speech last week that was full of unsubstantiated claims, Trump said, “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. He said, ‘I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan.'”
Trump also boasted North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — whom the president met with in June — had stopped testing missiles at his behest and Japan has Trump to thank. Kim and Trump plan to meet again in Hanoi at the end of the month.
“They feel good. They feel safe. I did that,” Trump said.
The head of Japan’s opposition party blasted Abe for insinuating the issue of North Korean missile testing, which had included launching projectiles over the Sea of Japan, had been resolved.
“Nothing has been resolved. None of the abduction, nuclear and missile issues were resolved,” Democratic Party for the People leader Yuichiro Tamaki said Monday, according to USA Today.
Trump has been known to lie about purported communications.
In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Trump claimed the NFL had sent him a letter backing his complaint that a debate had been scheduled for the same night as two football games.
“I got a letter from the NFL saying ‘this is ridiculous, why are the debates against (the NFL schedule)?'” Trump claimed. The NFL denied any such letter was sent to Trump.
In August 2017, after giving a bizarre speech to the Boy Scouts of America, Trump claimed the head of the organization called to tell him the lecture was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” The head of the Boy Scouts denied making that call and apologized for Trump’s inappropriate conduct in an open letter posted to the organization’s web page.
“I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” the letter read.
Following Trump’s meeting with the North Koreans in June, Trump claimed he’d received a “very nice letter” and “a very interesting letter” from Kim. Indeed, a letter was sent. But the president later said he hadn’t read it.