Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe replies to a question from opposition lawmaker Yuichiro Tamaki in the Diet on Feb. 18 on whether he nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Takeshi Iwashita)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Feb. 18 would neither confirm nor deny if he nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize based on his work with North Korea.

But Abe did say at the Lower House Budget Committee that he is not denying as “untrue” the news reports that he had nominated Trump.

“The Nobel Committee makes it a policy to keep secret the names of nominees and those who nominated them for 50 years,” Abe said in response to questions from Yuichiro Tamaki, head of the Democratic Party for the People. “I would like to refrain from commenting in line with this policy.”

Trump told a news conference at the White House on Feb. 15 that Abe gave him a copy of the letter he had written to the Nobel Committee to nominate the U.S. president for the prize on behalf of Japan.

Sources within the Japanese government told The Asahi Shimbun that Abe nominated Trump for the prize around last autumn after the U.S. side requested the nomination from the Japanese leader.

The request from Washington followed the first U.S.-North Korea summit in June last year in Singapore.

During the Diet session, Abe praised Trump’s accomplishments.

“(The president) responded to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles problem in a decisive manner and held the historic U.S.-North Korea summit,” the prime minister said. “During the summit, he conveyed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un my position of resolving the issue of Japanese nationals abducted (by North Korea).”