Typhoon Haiyan: Japan says ready to send 1,000 troops to Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan: Japan says ready to send 1,000 troops to Philippines
Members of a Japan disaster relief team leave for the Philippines from Tokyo's Narita airport on November 11, 2013.

TOKYO - Japan is ready to send as many as 1,000 troops to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines to help with relief efforts, a defence ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

The comments came a day after Tokyo dispatched 50 members of its Self-Defence Forces (SDF) to assist in medical support and transport operations following Manila's request for assistance.

Three naval ships and an unspecified number of aircraft would accompany the proposed contingent, Jiji Press news agency reported.

"We will continue consulting with the Philippine government about the size of the deployment it may need," the defence ministry official said.

Their work would be focused on the devastated city of Tacloban, after one of the biggest storms in recorded history demolished entire communities across the central part of the island nation.

The provincial capital was the first Philippine city to be liberated from Japan's occupying forces by US troops in 1944 during World War II.

Thousands are feared dead in the Philippines while 660,000 have lost their homes, according to the UN.

If Tokyo sends a 1,000-troop contingent, it would be the largest single relief operation team sent abroad by the SDF, Japan's de facto military which must adhere to the country's post-war pacifist constitution.

The defence forces have helped in previous regional relief efforts including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The Japanese government also said on Tuesday it would supply US$10 million in grant aid to provide evacuees with emergency shelters and other help through aid organisations.

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