Tokyo: Japanese author Haruki Murakami has asked for the withdrawal of his nomination for an alternative to the Nobel Prize in Literature, postponed this year over a sexual misconduct scandal, saying he wanted to concentrate on his writing.
One of Japan's most successful literary exports, Murakami's Nobel prospects are the subject of intense annual scrutiny in his home country.
Murakami expressed gratitude at the nomination, but said he wanted to "concentrate on writing, away from media attention", the organisers of the New Academy Prize in Literature said while announcing his withdrawal on social media site Facebook.
It gave no further details of Murakami's decision. The replacement award was set up by a group of Swedish cultural figures after this year's Nobel Prize in Literature was postponed following a sexual misconduct scandal at the Swedish Academy.
The other nominees for the alternative prize are British-born author Neil Gaiman, Guadeloupe-born Maryse Conde and Vietnam-born Kim Thuy.
They have all "expressed enthusiasm for their nomination," the organisers' statement added. The winner will be announced in October.