Japan is willing to try to persuade countries opposed to expansion of the U.N. Security Council to support the idea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Tuesday.

He made the remarks after representatives of 116 nations had gathered at a New York hotel to demand that any UNSC expansion be based on a general consensus, not by votes as suggested earlier by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Japan believes that many of the 116 countries have not yet decided where they stand on the proposed expansion and that there still is room to persuade them, the top government spokesman told a news conference.

“We are not surprised by the number, but we will have to persuade those countries” into supporting a Security Council expansion, Hosoda said.

Japan is trying to gain a permanent seat on the powerful council as part of a proposal to reform the United Nations. Japan has teamed up with Germany, India and Brazil to form the so-called Group of Four to support each other’s attempts to become permanent members.

In late March, a similar meeting held by the Group of Four drew some 140 nations, many of which were again seen at Monday’s gathering, indicating they were still undecided.

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