Pop group SMAP have found themselves at the centre of a diplomatic dispute between their native Japan and China after officials in Beijing halted ticket sales of their upcoming concerts in the country.
The boy band is due to perform two shows at the Shanghai World Expo next month (Oct10) but fans have been told they won't be able to purchase tickets to the gigs without an explanation.
It is believed authorities in China acted in response to the escalating feud brewing with Japanese officials over the arrest of a Chinese fishing captain, who was taken into custody earlier this month (Sep10) when his boat collided with two Japanese coastguard vessels in disputed waters.
A Japanese judge extended his detention by another 10 days last week (ends17Sep10) and the Chinese have vowed to impose "strong counter-measures" as a result - with SMAP's tour of China appearing to fall victim to the protests.
The band's Tokyo-based management is currently trying to work around the issue by engaging in talks with concert organisers in Shanghai, according to local news sources.