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Justin Bieber says he's sorry about posing at a Japanese war shrine

While on a recent visit to Japan Justin Bieber again landed himself in the middle of international controversy. He stopped off to visit what he thought was a holy shrine only to discover later that it was a Japanese war shrine. Bieber apologized for posing at this highly controversial Japanese site reported MTV on April 23, 2014. Bieber said he thought he was just visiting a beautiful Japanese shrine at the time.

Justin Bieber performing at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Bieber says while he was in Japan his driver pulled over to a site which looked like a beautiful shrine. He claims he was mislead into thinking this was only a place of prayer. He than posted an Instagram photo posing at this shrine with the caption "Thank you for your blessings". This photo quickly got 660,000 likes before Bieber realized the Yasukuni Shrine honors former military leaders from Japan's imperial army who committed war atrocities in China and other regions in Asia during World War 11. Bieber than deleted the photo.

The Yasukuni Shrine is where 14 class-A Japanese war criminals are buried. Bieber apologized to everyone he offended by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine reports ABC News. This shrine is located in central Tokyo. It enshrines 2.5 million war dead among which are included Japan's 14 convicted war criminals. Japan's wartime aggression is defended by a war museum operated by the shrine.

The Yasukuni Shrine has been a particular source of extreme tension between China and Korea and Japan. During World War 11 the Japanese military invaded China and Korea and tens of millions of Chinese and Koreans were killed. There have also been stories of sex slavery by the Japanese military in Korea. It was suggested that with that photo at the Yasukuni Shrine Bieber alienated millions of Chinese and Korean fans.

It really doesn't appear Bieber meant to offend anyone with this visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. He comes across as a religious person and a peace activist who does not support war atrocities by any nation at any time in history. Bieber appears more in support of the present day peaceful oriented policies of Japan and he appears genuinely interested in the rich cultures of all of the Asian nations.