BANGKOK — The Japanese filmmakers behind “Children of the Dark,” flew to Bangkok on Wednesday to defend their pic after it was axed from the Bangkok Film Festival, which opened Tuesday.

Helmer Junji Sakamoto and his producers, Yukiko Shii and Masaomi Karasaki, sought to clarify reports in Thai newspapers that the film was shot illegally in Thailand.

“We strongly stress that we shot the movie by entering a co-production with a Thai company, and we got a working visa for the crew,” Sakamoto said. “We didn’t shoot the film unlawfully.”

“Children of Dark” tells the story of a Japanese journalist and an activist who try to rescue youngsters from child prostitution in Thailand.

Last Thursday, fest organizers the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Federation of National Film Associates pulled the pic, saying it contained sensitive content that was not appropriate for Thai society.

The Thailand Film Office denied permission for the film to shoot in the country last year, which prompted the Japanese producers to enter into a co-production with a Thai company. However, there were reports that “Children of the Dark” was shot illegally.

“We just want to address the issue that happens in a society,” Sakamoto said. “We feel gratitude to the Thai people who helped us with the film, but we’re very sorry that the Thai public won’t be able to see it.”

The fest replaced the pic with “Where the Miracle Happens,” a Thai drama starring Princess Ubolratana.

Fest ends Sept. 30.