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Velvet Revolver nixes Japanese tour

Authorities refuse visas for band members

The rock band Velvet Revolver has canceled a tour of Japan after authorities refused to give its members visas, possibly because of previous run-ins with the law.

The band, which features former members of Guns N’ Roses and the Stone Temple Pilots, had been looking to “reconnect” with their Japanese fans during performances in Tokyo and three other Japanese cities from Nov. 26-30.

But officials just said no.

“Velvet Revolver’s request for visas has just been denied,” the band said on its Web site.

“The increasingly tough Japanese immigration officials are taking exception with the backgrounds of various band members, which have included arrests,” it said. “The band is appealing the decision.”

The site did not say why specifically the immigration officials refused to issue the visas, and the Justice Ministry does not comment publicly on individual cases.

It is rare for performers to be denied entry into Japan, although the country has relatively strict visa standards and drug laws. The band’s Web site said that although they would be canceling the Japan tour, they would be performing in Australia as scheduled starting Dec. 4.

Velvet Revolver toured Japan without incident in 2005.

“We want to apologize to our fans in Japan that we won’t be able to perform our scheduled concerts,” the band said in a group statement last week. “We don’t understand why the authorities won’t give us visas when they granted them for us in 2005 for what was a successful tour and a great experience. We love Japan and look forward to our return there.”

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