UNITED NATIONS - Japan has refused to join Germany, India and Brazil in a new bid for permanent seats on an expanded U.N. Security Council, deciding instead to negotiate with the United States to come up with an alternate proposal. Japanese diplomat Shiniichi Iida said Friday that Tokyo would continue as part of the so-called Group of Four, however, calling it the "primary driving force for council reform." Competing reform proposals have spawned a bitterly divisive debate on reshaping the U.N.'s most powerful body to reflect the realities of the 21st century. India, Brazil and Germany Thursday reintroduced a proposal, shelved by the General Assembly last summer, to expand the council from 15 to 25 seats, including six new permanent members with veto power. The plan would have given all four sponsors permanent seats. The Security Council has 10 members elected for two-year terms and five permanent members with veto power — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — reflecting the global power structure in the post-World War II period when the U.N. was created. There is strong support for enlarging the council to reflect modern realities but previous attempts have failed because of national and regional rivalries over the size and composition of an expanded council. Japan's Iida said Tokyo decided not to join Germany, India and Brazil because it did not want to interfere with an effort by the African union" to unite behind a single plan. Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa have introduced a resolution to expand the council to 26 members, including six new permanent seats with veto power. The African countries can't agree on who should get permanent seats. The United States has said it wants "a modest expansion" of the council with just two or so additional permanent seats, including one for Japan. China vehemently opposes Japan becoming a permanent council member. Beijing's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said Friday he still believes none of the proposals on the table "would unify the whole U.N. membership."