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.