Japan sending 1,000 troops to Philippines

6:11 AM, Nov 14, 2013   |    comments
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A Filipino boy carries a gallon of water in the devastated city of Tacloban, Nov. 13. International aid is starting to pour into the Philippines as authorities stepped up efforts to reach survivors driven to looting after one of the world?'s strongest typhoons devastated their towns. Francis R. Malasig, epa

TOKYO (AP) - Japan is planning to send about 1,000 troops to the Philippines in what officials say could become the military's biggest relief effort ever.

The decision was posted on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official Facebook page.

Japan has sent its Self Defense Forces, as its military is known, on 13 prior disaster relief efforts. While the exact number for this mission has yet to be decided, it will be one of the largest if not the largest ever.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koichi Mizushima said: "We are really concerned about the situation in the Philippines."

The contingent will primarily transport relief supplies, but could include some medical workers. The Self Defense Forces have already dispatched a 50-person medical team to the Philippines. Japan has also sent 25 civilian doctors and nurses.

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