Justin Bieber apologizes for visiting controversial Japanese war shrine

The 20-year-old pop star didn't know he stopped to see a shrine honoring Japanese war criminals.
By Kate Stanton Follow @KateStan Contact the Author   |   April 23, 2014 at 7:17 PM

TOKYO, April 23 (UPI) -- Justin Bieber stepped into a diplomatic minefield this week when he snapped an Instagram photo of himself bowing his head in front of Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine and wrote "Thank you for your blessings."

Chinese Beliebers immediately took to social media to point out that the 20-year-old Canadian pop star had inadvertently visited what many Chinese see as an offensive symbol of Japanese aggression during World War II.

The Yasukuni Shrine honors many men and women who died in service to the Japanese empire, including 1,000 soldiers classed as WWII war criminals.

Bieber said it's all a misunderstanding.

"While in Japan I asked my driver to pull over for which I saw a beautiful shrine," Bieber explained Wednesday on Instagram. "I was mislead to think the Shrines were only a place of prayer. To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry. I love you China and I love you Japan."

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