Justin Bieber Leaves Japan As President Obama Arrives Amid War Shrine Furor

Justin Bieber has left Japan just as President Barack Obama arrived in the country Wednesday for the start of his Four-Nation Asia trip which officially starts today.

Justin Bieber is getting out of dodge, aka Japan, just as President Barack Obama kicks off his four-nation Asia trip at a deeply critical time in China-Japan territorial relation and amid concerns over the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The president will also visit South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in his week-long tour.

The pop superstar who arrived in Tokyo, Japan, with his mom Pattie Mallette and crew last Sunday, enjoyed a peaceful visit right up until this week.

All hell broke loose after Bieber unwittingly visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni war shrine on Wednesday, in the mistaken belief that it was a place of worship. He subsequently posted two Instagram photos of himself taken at the shrine which were also shared on Twitter.

The Yasakuni Shrine, built in 1869, honors 2.5 million of Japan’s war-dead and includes 14 convicted war criminals — and their souls

For China and South Korea — both of whose people suffered catastrophically when Japan occupied large parts of the China and the Korean peninsula during the Second World War – the shrine remains a symbol of Japan’s glorification of its aggressive, militaristic past.

That’s what Bieber stumbled into yesterday.

The storm that blew, thrashed a little harder due to the fact it was Bieber — obviously — but also because around 150 Japanese lawmakers and one cabinet minster visited the shrine on Tuesday while Prime minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering, and stirred up Chinese anger in the run-up to President Obama’s visit.

Bieber didn’t make TIME magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People” list, but he sure got people talking about the war-dead, imperialism, remembrance, and Asia’s current tensions.

If that isn’t relevant, influential pop culture (by default), what is?

After thousands of angry comments, Instagram deletions, inflammatory tabloid commentary and Bieber’s later apology for a faux pax even TMZ described as an “honest mistake” — today, the 20-year-old is no doubt hoping to leave the war shrine furor behind.

Bieber hit Instagram Thursday and posted five photos, four of which were fashion poses he also tweeted. Naturally, a gratuitous shirtless picture also arrived.

While wearing interesting fashion choices in each, in the first snap Justin quoted the bible. In another, the Canadian teasingly asked,”Where to next?”

Justin Bieber

[Photo: Instagram, captioned,”Love your neighbor as yourself. And btw your neighbor isn’t just the one next door (sic).“]

Justin Bieber

[Photo: Instagram, captioned, “Where to next?”]

Justin Bieber On Instagram

[Photo: Instagram, captioned, “Harajuku,” which is a geographical area in Shibuya, Tokyo, and a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion.]

Justin Bieber

[Photo: Instagram, “Bye Japan.”]

At press time, Bieber’s last photo was of himself and two tearful Japanese girls at what looks like an airport in the background.

During his stay in the capital, the singer also surprised children at an orphanage and later performed an acoustic show at a Tokyo club.

Despite the shrine controversy, Bieber had one last message for the Land of the Rising Sun.

Where do you think Justin will turn up next?