Monday, January 11, 2010

Latvian Violinist Defects

Even before the Latvian Symphony Orchestra's debut concert in Japan's Suntory Main Hall, in fact even before the National Symphony had left for Japan, first violinist Edgars Lazo asked for political asylum. "I am tired of living under the tyranny of this regime," said Lazo, reading in English from a prepared statement from inside the grounds of the Japanese embassy in Riga. "When personal freedoms and artistic freedoms are compromised, one must look elsewhere for a place to live."
Japanese state department official Yoshi Ishiguro said he was pleased that Lazo thought so highly of Japan, but that his nation would be unable to grant asylum to Lazo. "Mr. Lazo may live in a kleptocracy," noted Ishiguro, "but we see no grounds for granting asylum." He said Lazo would be thrown out of the embassy after the press conference, because he was drinking up all the embassy's beer. Lazo, unfazed, said he would travel to Japan and try again after the Tokyo Opera City concert.
Lazo, at right, says he is puzzled by Japan's decision but will try again.


  1. By the way, Japanese embassy in Riga is located on top 7th of office complex "Valdemara Centrs", so speaking from the grounds of the embassy is , in fact, speaking from the sky.