Nearly 1,000 Japanese troops are joining recovery operations in Indonesia's Aceh province, expected to help improve sanitation and curtail disease following last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Japanese officials have not said how long the troops will work in the disaster zone. Their mission to Indonesia -- which Japan occupied during World War Two -- has attracted wide attention.
Indonesian officials say emergency efforts are winding down in the hardest-hit areas of northern Sumatra island, and U.S. and other military forces in the relief effort are preparing to leave. U.N. relief workers say they expect tsunami recovery operations eventually to come under civilian control.
Southeast Asian nations have pledged to work together to help the region's tourism industry recover from last month's tsunami.
After a day of talks on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi, tourism ministers and senior officials from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations said visitor numbers have dropped heavily since the disaster.
The delegates have yet to agree on a joint plan of action, but say it will likely include an effort to eliminate misconceptions about the extent of the tsunami damage.
Indonesian Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said the tsunami affected only a small part of his country, and there are still many places that are pleasant to visit.
He said he expects improvements by the end of the year.