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TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese stand-up comedian has been given a stern warning by Chinese authorities for baring his buttocks in front of tourists on China's Hainan Island, press reports said.

Ken Mitsuda, 47, was shooting a scene for an entertainment programme for Osaka-based Asahi Broadcasting Corp. when he took the action at a popular Buddhist temple on the island on Monday, the Jiji and Kyodo news agencies said.

The comedian pulled the stunt after gaining approval from a Chinese coordinator present there, the reports quoted television company officials as saying.

He and staff members, after being questioned by local police, deleted the scene from the recording and submitted a letter of apology the next day before returning to Japan on Wednesday, the reports said.

"We sincerely regret that a senseless act was committed by programme staff and performers," Asahi Broadcasting said in a press statement without going into details of the incident.

"We apologise to people on the island and instruct our staff involved in the programme to be careful so that such an incident will never happen again," it said.

A local newspaper in Hainan reported the incident in its Thursday edition, the reports said.

Mitsuda is known as Ken in the popular comedy duo "Tommys" based in Osaka.

Copyright 2007 Agence France Presse