U.S. Pentagon to Spend as Much as $80 Million on Aid to Japan

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Defense Department said it expects to spend as much as $80 million in humanitarian assistance for Japan.

U.S. Navy ships and helicopters have been involved in rescue efforts following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan’s Tohoku region on March 11 and crippled the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

The Pentagon will pay for humanitarian assistance out of the so-called overseas humanitarian, disaster assistance and civic aid account, according to Pentagon talking points provided to Congress.

The Pentagon is currently funded under stopgap legislation at 2010 budget levels, including $110 million in that account.

According to the information provided to Congress, the Defense Department also expects to pay between $50 million and $175 million for the voluntary evacuation of dependents of U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan.

The U.S. military has about 38,000 personnel stationed in the region, dispersed among 85 facilities on Honshu, Kyushu and Okinawa, according to U.S. Forces Japan. There are an additional 11,000 service members on Navy ships.

The eventual cost depends on whether an estimated 6,000 dependents will evacuate or as many as 21,000 dependents, which is estimated to be the total number of dependents residing in Honshu, Japan, according to the document. The Pentagon said that its “current best estimate” is 6,000.

-- Editors: Steven Komarow, Bob Drummond

To contact the reporter on this story: Roxana Tiron in Washington at rtiron@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.