Bieber, 20, posted a picture on social media of himself
visiting Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine with the heading, "Thank you
for your blessings".
The picture was later deleted, although it was republished
elsewhere on the Internet, including by a Bieber fan group, and
drew criticism from South Korea and China.
The shrine honors 14 Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals
after World War Two along with Japan's war dead, and visits to
the shrine by Japanese politicians anger victims of Japan's past
aggression, including South Korea and China.
Chinese officials have compared Japanese politicians' visits to
the shrine to the idea of German politicians laying flowers on
The subject of Yasukuni is especially touchy this week, when
about 150 lawmakers visited and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a
ritual offering to mark the shrine's annual spring festival.
Bieber later said he had visited Yasukuni by mistake after
spotting a beautiful shrine and asking his driver to stop,
believing it was "only a place of prayer".
"To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry," he wrote on
his Instagram site. "I love you China and I love you Japan."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang earlier said he
hoped Bieber had learned something from his visit.
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"I hope that this Canadian singer, after visiting Yasukuni Shrine,
can have an understanding and knowledge of that period of militarism
of Japan's history of invasion," Qin said.
Bieber is popular among some in China, and has performed there,
although his popularity does not approach that of the Hong Kong and
Taiwan stars many young Chinese idolize.
Earlier, some people took to China's Twitter-like Weibo to register
their displeasure, with one writing: "We should run him out of Asia
South Koreans flooded Twitter with angry comments that people like
Bieber should not be allowed to perform there.
Bieber has been visiting Japan this week with his mother, according
to postings from both on social media.
He faces a May trial in Miami on charges of driving under the
influence, resisting arrest and using an expired license after
police say he was caught drag racing in Miami Beach.
(Reporting by Ruairidh Villar and Kevin Krolicki in Tokyo, Christine
Kim in Seoul, and Ben Blanchard and the Beijing newsroom; writing by
Elaine Lies; editing by Robert Birsel)
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