By Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Rockers Velvet Revolver were forced to cancel four upcoming concerts in Japan, Nov. 26-30, because their request for visas was denied, even though the band toured the country in 2005. The four canceled shows were in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama, and the increasingly tough Japanese immigration officials took exception with the backgrounds of various band members, which have included arrests.

The band is appealing the decision of the officials – which is ironic given that their current album “Libertad” is Spanish for “liberty” and “freedom” – but this process will take months to sort out.

“We want to apologize to our fans in Japan that we won’t be able to perform our scheduled concerts,” the group said in a statement. “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.”

Velvet Revolver will proceed with their Australian tour that begins on Dec. 4 in Brisbane. Upon its return to the U.S., the band – lead vocalist Scott Weiland , guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, drummer Matt Sorum and guitarist Dave Kushner – will headline the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, CA on Dec. 12. This show, with Alice In Chains, was originally set for Oct. 26 at the outdoor Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA but was postponed due to the devastating Southern California wildfires.

Velvet Rovolver itinerary:
12/4 Brisbane, Australia Convention Centre
12/5 Sydney, Australia Enmore Theatre
12/6 Sydney, Australia Enmore Theatre
12/8 Melbourne, Australia Festival Hall
12/9 Adelaide, Australia The Barton Theatre
12/12 Los Angeles, CA Gibson Amphitheatre