Murakami is the sixth recipient of the award. Past winners include Philip Roth of the U.S., Ivan Klima of the Czech Republic and Peter Nadas of Hungary. In the last two years, Austrian novelist, playwright and poet Elfriede Jelinek and British playwright Harold Pinter were chosen for the prize shortly before they won the Nobel Prize for literature.
From the Daily Yomiuri:
At a press conference held prior to the award ceremony, attended by about 60 reporters, Murakami said with a smile, “This is the first press conference of my life and it may also be the last one.”