Justin Bieber has apologised after posing next to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo, which celebrates the leaders executed for war crimes among Japan's 2.5 million war dead. The Canadian pop singer posted an image of himself next to the shrine to his 51.1 million followers on Twitter and on Instagram.

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Of course, we'd love to highlight Bieber's fascinating ignorance of military history, but to be fair to the pop-star - who earlier this week made a trip to Universal Studios in Osaka - he admitted he was unaware of the shrine's controversial role. 

"While in Japan I asked my driver to pull over for which I saw a beautiful shrine," he wrote on Instagram. "I was mislead to think the shrines were only a place of prayer. To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry. I love you China and I love you Japan."

According to the Guardian, pilgrimages by Japanese politicians often provoke angry outbursts from China, which regards the visits as evidence of Tokyo's failure to atone for atrocities committed on the mainland, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s. 

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Bieber's impromptu stop at Yasukuni came a day after 150 Japanese MPs paid homage at the shrine. 

Officials in Beijing - where Bieber has a considerable fan-base - said they were unaware of the visit and gave the singer the benefit of the doubt.

Qin Gang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said he hoped Bieber had left Yasukuni with "a clear understanding of Japan's history of invasion and militarism, and of the source of Japan's militarism".

Bieber attracted widespread criticism last year when, during a trip to the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam, he wrote in the visitor book: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber."

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