Justin Bieber Apologizes for Trip to Japan War Shrine

Justin Bieber performing at the Scooter Braun Projects “Sunday Funday Showcase” at South By SouthWest, sponsored by Op and Buffalo David Bitton, in Austin, TX

AP Photo/Op and Buffalo David Bitton

Justin Bieber apologized Wednesday to those he offended by visiting Japan's Yasukuni war shrine this week, saying he was misled to see it as only a place of prayer.

The Shinto shrine in Tokyo honors 2.5 million war dead, including 14 convicted war criminals. China and South Korea in particular see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's past militarism and see visits to it as a lack of understanding or remorse over wartime history.

Two photos posted late Tuesday and subsequently removed from Instagram showed Bieber praying outdoors at the shrine and standing beside a Shinto priest. The images outraged China as well as many commenters on Instagram and Twitter.

In a new Instagram post Wednesday evening, Bieber said he asked his driver to stop when he saw the shrine.

"I was mislead to think the Shrines were only a place of prayer. To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry," the post said.