Executives from a Japanese Sony music unit apologized Wednesday for a rock band under its management that dressed up like Nazis on a national TV broadcast.
The apology from Sony Music Artists Inc. came after an international Jewish group complained about Japanese band "Kishidan" wearing the costumes during an appearance on an MTV Networks Japan show that aired a week earlier.
Images broadcast on the "Megavector" program show the six-member band in black uniforms resembling those of Nazi soldiers, with distinctive red arm bands and epaulets.
On Monday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights organization based in Los Angeles, issued a statement expressing "shock and dismay" over the uniforms.
A statement posted early Wednesday morning on the websites of the band and Sony Music Artists, a music agency that is a unit of Sony's entertainment subsidiary, apologized for the costumes.
"Although it was not meant to carry any ideological meaning whatsoever, we deeply regret and apologize for the distress it has caused Simon Wiesenthal Center and all concerned," read the statement, which was signed by two executives from the subsidiary.
The band Kishidan often dresses up in dark uniforms, including those worn by Japan's motorcycle gangs called "bosozoku."
Asia is less sensitive to the use of Nazi themes than the West. In December, a complaint from the center caused a large Japanese retailer to stop sales of a Nazi costume, and it has previously protested Nazi themes in Korean advertising and bars. Thailand has had past instances where icons of the genocidal German regime have been used for advertising and entertainment, and in 2007 a Thai school apologized to the Simon Wiesenthal Center for a Nazi-themed parade at its sports day.