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WASHINGTON (Kyodo) A leading Jewish human rights group is asking a popular Japanese pop band to apologize for appearing on a TV program in uniforms resembling wartime Nazi SS units, saying it disrespects Holocaust victims.

In a statement issued Monday, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed its “shock and dismay” over the appearance of the pop group Kishidan during an interview aired Feb. 23 on MTV Japan, asking that the group drop the Nazi-like attire.

“Such garb like the uniform worn by Kishidan is never tolerated in the mainstream of any civilized country outside of Japan,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the center, said in the statement.

“As someone who has visited Japan over 30 times, I am fully aware that many young Japanese are woefully uneducated about the crimes against humanity committed during World War II by Imperial Japan in occupied Asia, let alone about Nazi Germany’s genocidal ‘Final Solution’ against the Jews in Europe,” Cooper said.

“But global entities like MTV and Sony Music should know better,” he added, referring to the cable channel affiliated with U.S. media conglomerate Viacom Inc. and the band’s management agency, Sony Music Artists Inc.

The pop group comprising six male members is known for often wearing Japanese school uniforms in the style of “bosozoku” biker gangs.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after a famous Nazi hunter, monitors anti-Semitic and racist activities. In 1995, it lodged a protest over a Japanese monthly magazine article charging that the Holocaust was “propaganda” and that Nazi gas chambers never existed.

The magazine, Marco Polo, a property of publishing house Bungei Shunju Co., ceased publication soon after the controversy.

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