The British media tend to give undue prominence to nationalist voices when reporting events related to the war Japan waged in the first half of the 20th century, an academic said.

Philip Seaton, an associate professor at Hokkaido University's Institute of Language and Culture Studies, said that when newspapers and Web sites cover Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine and the row over what have been called whitewashed Japanese history textbooks, they fail to represent the differences in Japanese public opinion and focus on more vocal rightwing views. Seaton believes British media need to reflect a more diverse range of opinions if it is to represent Japan more fairly.

He has studied the way British newspapers in 2001 covered then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the war-related Shinto shrine, which honors the souls of Japan's 2.5 million war dead as well as 14 Class-A war criminals. The press regards Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's latent militarism and its failure to atone for the past.

Seaton also looked at how the BBC's Web site reported the row between Japan and its neighbors over the approval of a junior high school history textbook written by a group of revisionist academics with strong nationalistic views in 2001. Critics claimed the book glossed over Japanese atrocities.