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Japan refuse to ban colonial rising sun flag at Olympics as spat with Korea deepens

Why is “refuse” used instead of “refuses”?

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/09/05/japan-refuse-ban-colonial-rising-sun-flag-olympics-spat-korea/amp/

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    In the UK, ie in British English, they treat some kinds of groups as plural which American English treats as singular. Like corporate entities, sports teams, or in this case a country. American English would say “Citibank hires new CEO”; in the UK they’d say “Citibank hire a new CEO”.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 22:18
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    A: It's a headline. B: It's British English, where sometimes organizations are regarded as plural. It's fairly normal to hear "The XXX Team are..." when sports are discussed on BBC radio.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 22:19
  • @DanBron - I think it's the other way around, mostly. In the OP's example "Japan" is being treated as plural.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 22:21
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    @JanusBahsJacquet - Yep. I misread it.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 23:30
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    There's also the possibility that it's a typo. The reason I say that is that while it's typical for Brits to say "Arsenal are undefeated" as the name "Arsenal" represents a plurality of members of a football club, it's not typical for Brits to do that with countries, unless it's a country name appearing as the name of a football team or something like that. So Brits would say "Germany were defeated" if referring to, say, the German national football team losing a match but would say "Germany was defeated" to convey the country Germany losing World War II. "Japan" here seems like the latter. Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 1:56

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