Japan is considering the timing and duration of a plan to send its Self-Defense Forces to help secure Japanese shipping in Middle East waters.
The National Security Council on Friday decided against joining a US-initiated international coalition to escort vessels in the region. Officials decided Japan will take its own steps to ensure safety of related vessels.
Government sources said the decision takes into account Japan's longstanding friendly relations with Iran.
Officials say the possible deployment will support information gathering and is likely to be in the Gulf of Oman, the northern part of Arabian Sea and waters off Yemen. In consideration of relations with Iran, there are no plans to send the SDF to the Persian Gulf.
The planned mission will likely comprise destroyers and patrol aircraft of the Maritime Self Defense Force, including those which are currently engaged in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.