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New York Metropolitan Opera stars, fearing radiation, skip Japan tour

28 Comments

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The "event" began over 2 and a half months ago... why did they have to wait so long before cancelling? Seems a little unfair on anyone who has already bought tickets.

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Good for Placido Domingo. Japan is a huge classical market. The other singers should be bucking up.

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There&s no way anyone can say 100% that there is no risk. Better safe than sorry.

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No wonder, probably the two singers read up on David Brenner and decided the guy doesn't really give a hoot about public safety. I would agree with that assessment. <> There isn't too much cesium to be absorbed while riding an airplane or getting an x-ray: a poor comparison (and a red-flag for the credibility of Dr. Brenner.)

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I don't know. The fact that TEPCO hasn't gotten control of things is frightening. If more people make a fuss, perhaps the government might actually step in, get some help and deal with the issues at hand? TEPCO certainly isn't making Japan look good.

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if it was purely because of what they read in the papers, then I would be pretty disappointed at them. But, since they have experienced their friends passing away from the incident with Chernobyl, I can understand their fears. Hopefully they will be back in a few years!

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Ludicrous. If they had planned a session in Fukushima, I would understand, but that is ridiculous.

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Good call! I can't imagine anyone coming to Japan now in need of work!

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They are not coming because they want to make a statement IMO. There is enough independent data to show that Tokyo's environment is now fine. Or maybe they are just really naive. Either way, it's the price Japan is paying for the genpatsu disaster.

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If they are afraid of radiation, they can stay home. But Japan's people are still doing a normal life there. Psychological and personal reasons can call off any business event. Each person seems to do his or her own plan by any manipulated reason. Entertainment businesses and tourism businesses need both local and foreign clients. The more foreigners are afraid about visiting Japan, the slower Japan's economy can be recovered. Chinese Premier and South Korean President visited Fukushima, They look as real heroes compared those Yankees who are living in a different scene of comfort.

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There&s no way anyone can say 100% that there is no risk. Better safe than sorry.

Yeah better sit in one place in a sterile environment, maybe like Howard Hughes for the rest of your life. Though, Tornados, drunk drivers, falling airplanes, lighting, falling vending machines, sharks kill more people per year then radiation. Of course eating a few bananas gives you just about the same amount of radiation as standing on the streets of Tokyo.

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I don't know if Tokyo's safe or not. Caesium is not the same as "natural" radiation. But almost everyone in the world who was alive in 1989 knows someone who died of cancer after Chernobyl. Certainly everyone who was an adult at that time would. I think Tokyo is less carcinogenic right now than Moscow, Beijing, or several other major cities that the Met wouldn't hesitate to perform in.

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I don't blame them. The Japanese government and TEPCO have not been completely honest. Glad I got out before March 11th.

RR

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Tepco is so full of BS! NY Metro Opera is quite smart! The whole world should put more pressure on this stupid country, Japan, to come up clean with what really is going on here.

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Actually, Tokyo radiation levels have NOT "returned to their pre-tsunami levels". They are almost double that. According to the JAIST site, on March 10 the level was 0.0338 micrograys. But yesterday it was 0.0609 micrograys.

Even worse, the monitoring sensor for these readings turned out to be 18 meters above ground. In a Japan Times article three days ago, an industry-shill expert said this was necessary to get an accurate reading. Surprisingly, the article actually admitted that radiation levels on the ground would be 2-3 times the official number from 18 meters above ground.

This would not have been true pre-meltdown, since radiation levels before the Fukushima disaster were not elevated by radioactive particles gradually accumulating on the ground. Therefore, it could be said that as we walk around Tokyo, we are actually exposed to 4-6 times the pre-quake radiation level.

Even worse, micrograys don't give the effect on biological tissue. The microgray reading is different for each of alpha, beta and gamma emission. What we need is the "effective dose", which is measured in Sieverts. I haven't seen that one listed for Tokyo. It's incorrect to simply say it's the same number as the microgray reading.

Finally, the entire topic of internal emitters is completely ignored. These are much worse than external emitters like an x-ray or international flight. You don't breathe in an x-ray and have it switched on inside you for the rest of your life.

These dose measurements are somewhat meaningless when the really important question for people is whether they inhaled or ingested a particle that will be with them forever, exposing cells at point-blank range to levels of radiation much higher than the measured microgray level at 18 meters above ground.

What we need is a volumetric measurement of contamination - that means, becquerels per square meter of air. But nobody is even mentioning this, let alone releasing or publishing that kind of data. But that's the one you really want to know. They wear masks in the Fukushima zone. Why don't people wear them in Tokyo? They release becquerel per kg or liter data for water and foodstuffs. Why not for air?

I doubt the Met singers are aware of this dosimetric stuff, they are probably just going with their gut reaction. But they are right in thinking that Tokyo is most certainly not back to normal. It isn't. And, it continues to get worse every day as more and more radioactive particles keep gradually accumulating on the ground.

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Actually, Tokyo radiation levels have NOT "returned to their pre-tsunami levels". They are almost double that. According to the JAIST site, on March 10 the level was 0.0338 micrograys. But yesterday it was 0.0609 micrograys.

Normal radiation levels in Tokyo is between around 0.03 and 0.75 microsieverts, so 0.0609 is within normal levels.

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Too many instant "official denials", too many idle "official assurances" must have turned Ms Anna Netrebko into one worrywart---something must have reminded her of things during that Soviet Union era.

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You can say what you want about the government and TEPCO information but waiting until the last minute and then cancelling is rather irrational. Guess the director got that right.

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" “Part of what makes opera such an exciting art form is that it is so unpredictable,” Gelb said. “If there were a rationality clause in opera singers’ contracts, not many opera singers would perform.” "

That is a very polite way of saying that they are self-centered, spoiled brats.

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really? too dangerous to stay and belt out a couple tunes?

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@badmigraine

thank you for an insightful post

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We should all chip in and buy the wimps a map. This is like not visiting Atlanta because there is street crime in Miami.

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By the way, the reading (counts per minute) in New York today is a little over twice that of Tokyo. New York has a lot more street crime as well, and people are shot or mugged there every day, so they'd better fly over here and get away from all that danger.

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It was put at 18 meters high so that a tsunami would not get it.

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@cleo

Normal radiation levels in Tokyo is between around 0.03 and 0.75 microsieverts, so 0.0609 is within normal levels.

Watching the radiation levels at Kurihama is it clear that pre-Fukushima explosions level was stable at 0.025 uSv/hr and since the explosions it has had a clean expoential decayed to 0.050 uSv/hr. So the two-times level mentioned above seem consitent. Agree though that this is still quite low when compared to many other places in the world .

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What a shame ! It is the same as saying : Japanese guys, your lives are less important than ours. You are not worth a concert. Just stay in your air conditioned, sterilized studio and keep on thinking you are a goodness (but Gods cannot die ? So are you a simple human being ? What a disappointment for me !)

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I studied set design in college and have been backstage for many operas, plays, concerts and the like.

One thing that I found as a pretty steady constant among them is that an overwhelming majority of them are smokers.

I wonder if they realize the irony of their decision not to come to Japan.

Taka

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This is why the word "diva" is appropriately used as a term of derision.

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