UN holds back Tokyo and Bonn

NEW YORK (AFP) - Germany and Japan have lost their bid to gain full membership of the Security Council by next year, diplomats said. A working group set up nine months ago and charged with drafting a plan for widening the UN's top decision-making body has failed to come up with a plan that would win a consensus.

Japan had hoped to gain full entry next year but diplomats say the council is unlikely to expand before 2000. Germany is to accept a seat as a non-permanent member for two years from 1 January.