Justin Bieber. Pic: AP.

TOKYO (AP) — Justin Bieber has apologized 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 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 wrote that he asked his driver to stop at the shrine but was misled on its purpose.