Japan's Cabinet plans to approve a dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East to help ensure the safe navigation of commercial vessels.
The Japanese government is considering sending troops to gather more information about the regional situation.
The government is taking the initiative because it has decided against joining a US-led coalition to escort ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
The dispatch will be part of "study and research" activities that can be ordered by the defense minister alone.
But the governing coalition says its endorsement is necessary.
Some members of the junior coalition partner Komeito are voicing reservations about the deployment.
The government will hear opinions from coalition members before making the final decision this month on sending a destroyer and a patrol plane.
The plane will be one of the two P3C aircraft engaged in anti-piracy missions off the African nation of Djibouti.
A destroyer that can carry helicopters is to leave Japan after the New Year.