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State Foreign Secretary Nobutaka Machimura left Tuesday for hurricane-hit Honduras, where Japan is likely to deploy military personnel on a relief mission.

Machimura was to arrive in Honduras today, skipping an originally scheduled visit to Brazil. He will then move on to Ecuador, Panama and the United States as planned, the Foreign Ministry said.

The schedule for Machimura’s 12-day visit to the Americas was revised after the government decided Monday to send a Self-Defense Forces team to Honduras, which was devastated last week by Hurricane Mitch.

The 16-member advance team was dispatched to Honduras on Monday to report on the extent of damage before Tokyo determines whether to send a full-fledged SDF mission there.

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