A Japanese TV show has cancelled a scheduled appearance by boy band BTS over a controversial T-shirt.

Television executives took offence after band member Park Ji-min (aka Jimin) wore a piece of clothing depicting the US atomic bombing of Japan in 1945.

The K-pop seven-piece were due to perform on TV Asahi’s Music Station show on Friday, but program bosses decided to cancel their slot at the last minute.

In the run-up to the appearance, a photo of Jimin in the controversial T-shirt began circulating on social media in October, upsetting many of the group’s Japanese fans.

The T-shirt also featured Korean independence slogans, which is a very sensitive topic between the two countries, as well as the famous photo of the bomb being dropped during World War II.

The US bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the final stage of the war in August 1945, leading to the deaths of an estimated 129,000 to 226,000 people – mostly civilians.

The bombing eventually led to the independence of South Korea after 35 years under Japanese colonial rule.

A statement from TV Asahi read: "A T-shirt design worn by one of the members caused controversy… we had been discussing it with the record label. However, we decided to postpone their appearance this time."

Meanwhile, the group apologised to Japanese fans for the cancellation, but made no mention of the T-shirt: "We apologise for disappointing fans who were looking forward to this. BTS will continue their efforts to connect with fans on stage and also through music."

There has been debate over when Jimin wore the T-shirt in question with mixed reports claiming it was in 2017, while others say it was Korea’s Liberation Day on 15 August this year.

Despite the TV cancellation, BTS are expected to performed the Tokyo leg of their Love Yourself: Japan Edition tour on Tuesday.

The group are hugely popular in Japan with their latest single Fake Love/Airplane Pt 2 topping the charts in the country this week.

BTS are one of the world’s biggest bands and have enjoyed international success outside their native Korea.

Last month, they performed for the South Korean president Moon Jae-in and topped the Billboard 200 album charts in the US earlier this year with Love Yourself: Tear.

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