WATCHING THE WORLD: Flag proposal targets piracy

The Japanese government is considering a plan to allow foreign-registered oil tankers and other energy transporter ships operated by Japanese firms to hoist the Japanese national flag as a way to protect them from pirates.That will come as a relief to the owners of many ships operated by Japanese companies, which are registered in Panama and other countries that tax vessels at rates lower than Japan’s.The flags they fly indicate the country of their registration, but it has long been noted that most “flags of convenience” do not inspire awe in pirates since the countries that provide them tend to be small islands with little power to respond.But Japan’s Ministry of...

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