Soviet Tenor Defects After Win in ‘Butterfly’ Contest

United Press International

One of the Soviet Union’s top tenors won $6,000 singing in a “Madame Butterfly” contest and promptly went under the wing of police to seek asylum in the United States, Japanese officials said today.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman identified the man as Vyacheslav M. Polozov, 36, a tenor from Byelorussia who arrived in Tokyo on May 14 for an international opera competition that ended Monday.

After winning the contest, Polozov skipped the awards party Wednesday night and instead turned up at a Tokyo police station, where he indicated that he wanted to defect, a spokesman for the National Police Agency said.


The spokesman said Polozov was under police protection at an undisclosed location and was being interviewed on his request.

Japanese news media, quoting government sources, reported that Polozov was unhappy with life in the Soviet Union and sought artistic freedom in the West.

The Foreign Ministry said it had been in touch with the U.S. Embassy, but American officials had no immediate comment. The spokesman said the Soviets had not yet asked Japanese officials to question Polozov.