JUSTIN Bieber has apologised to those he offended by visiting a Japanese war shrine, saying he thought it was a beautiful site and only a place of prayer.
The Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo enshrines 2.5 million war dead, including Japan's 14 convicted war criminals, and operates a war museum that defends Japan's wartime aggression.
China and South Korea in particular see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's past militarism and consider Japanese officials' visits there as a lack of understanding or remorse over wartime history.
Two images posted on Bieber's Instagram account were met with outrage from Chinese officials.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said: "I hope this Canadian singer, after his visit, can have some knowledge of the Japanese . . . external aggression."
In a new Instagram post yesterday, Bieber said he asked his driver to stop when he saw the "beautiful shrine".
"I was misled to think the shrines were only a place of prayer. To anyone I have offended I am sorry," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Bieber's trial on charges of driving under the influence (DUI) was delayed yesterday until July.
Miami-Dade Judge William Altfield said: "I want to give everyone plenty of time."
Bieber was arrested on January 23 in Miami Beach after what police described as an illegal street drag race with R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff.