Sony Music apologises over Japanese band's 'Nazi' outfits
Sony Music Japan has apologised after a popular Japanese girl band came under fire for performing in outfits resembling Nazi-era German military uniforms.
The mostly teenage members of Keyakizaka46 appeared at a concert on October 22 in black knee-length dresses resembling military overcoats, with black capes and officer caps bearing a Nazi-like eagle emblem.
Sony Music Japan, the band's record label, said: "We express our heartfelt apology for causing offence ... because of our lack of understanding.
"We take the incident seriously and will make efforts to prevent a recurrence of a similar incident in the future."
Sony Music spokesman Yasuyuki Oshio said there had been no intention to link the performance to Nazism.
The US-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a human rights group focused on anti-Semitism and hate speech, said it was disgusted by the uniforms and urged Sony Music and the group's producer to apologise.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Centre, said: "Watching young teens on the stage and in the audience dancing in Nazi-style uniforms causes great distress to the victims of the Nazi genocide."
It is not the first time that Sony has said sorry after a complaint from the Wiesenthal Centre.
In 2011, Sony Music Artists apologised after a rock band under its management dressed up like Nazis on a national TV broadcast.
The Wiesenthal Centre expressed "shock and dismay" over the appearance by the band, Kishidan, on MTV Networks Japan.
Much of Asia is less sensitive about the use of Nazi themes than the West. The Wiesenthal Centre has also protested over incidents in South Korea and Thailand.
Keyakizaka46, formed in August 2015 by producer Yasushi Akimoto, is a group on the rise, according to The Japan Times.
Its first single, Silent Majority, reached number one on the Japanese charts after selling about 260,000 copies within a week of its April 6 release.