U.S. President Donald Trump revealed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to easing tensions with North Korea during a press conference at the White House on Feb. 15.
According to President Trump, Prime Minister Abe gave him a copy of a five-page letter he had sent to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and was told that he was "asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize." What was the premier feeling when he heard President Trump's words?
About the reason for his nomination, the president said, "Because he (Abe) had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan. And they had alarms going off; you know that. Now, all of a sudden, they feel good; they feel safe. I did that."
President Trump is going to have another meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late February. The Nobel remarks came out in his response to a question about the prospects for the summit.
Perhaps the president intended to emphasize that his North Korean policy is working. Yet the names of nominators or of nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize cannot be divulged until 50 years later and his statements infringe upon this moral obligation. The prime minister told the Diet on Jan. 18 that he had no comment, but did not deny what the U.S. president stated.
In any case, do the people of Japan feel safe as the president claimed, and happy?
In their meeting in June last year, Chairman Kim of North Korea's Workers' Party expressed his intention to denuclearize, and the American leader offered a security guarantee. Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang were eased.
However, their agreement did not include clear reference to the removal of nuclear weapons or short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, which threaten Japan's national security.
After their meeting, President Trump told a press conference that he would suspend joint military exercises with South Korea and even referred to a future withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula. These measures had the potential of adversely affecting Japan's security, and thus made Japanese government officials deeply concerned.
During the past eight months after the summit, denuclearization has not progressed, and it is hard to say that the situation on the peninsula is stabilizing.
In reality, the people of Japan are feeling more worried than safe about President Trump, who doesn't follow up on his words about stability with actions.
If President Trump wants to brag about his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, he should win an agreement from Chairman Kim that makes Pyongyang discard nuclear weapons and missiles, eases hostilities between the two countries and brings about stability to the region and the rest of the world.
The government of Japan should not curry President Trump's favor and instead push him to make concrete results while making sure that he will not settle for an easy compromise with North Korea.