Japanese immigration authorities have denied Velvet Revolver's request for visas, forcing the band to cancel shows it had scheduled in four Japanese cities later this month, according to representatives for the rock band.

In a statement, Sherman Oaks, Ca.-based music-publicity firm MSO says "increasingly tough" Japanese immigration officials took exception to the backgrounds of various Velvet Revolver members, which have included arrests. The band is appealing the decision, which affects planned dates between Nov. 26 and 30, but that process may take "months," according to the agency.

"We want to apologize to our fans in Japan that we won't be able to perform our scheduled concerts," Velvet Revolver said in a group statement released by MSO. "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."

On Nov. 20, Japan is scheduled to become the second country in the world (after the United States) to introduce biometric screening - including fingerprinting -- of all foreign nationals entering the country.

Velvet Revolver, meanwhile, will proceed with their Australian tour, which begins Dec. 4 in Brisbane.

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