Is Post-Fukushima Japan Safe for Tourists? via Time

When Lady Gaga came to Japan for a benefit concert for tsunami victims in June, she found herself taking on an unfamiliar role — that of tourism promoter. In characteristic Gaga form, she didn’t hold back anything, either, saying at a news conference she wanted “to run around Tokyo, enjoy the beautiful city and kiss all the beautiful little monsters and scream at the top of my lungs that everyone should come visit this beautiful place.”

The country could certainly use a pop-star plug. Japan’s international tourist numbers have plunged this year, hit by the double whammy of a record-breaking high yen and the lingering radiation concerns from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. Eight months have passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami, but many tourists are still hesitant about traveling to Japan. Connie Yang, a Singapore-based lawyer, says her family usually takes a ski holiday in the winter on the northern island of Hokkaido, but they won’t be going this year. “We definitely decided not to come to [Japan] this winter due to radiation scares because we have young children and decide where we are going about eight months before our actual trip,” she says. Many others likely have the same question on their minds: is it really safe to visit again?

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