Japan's decision to send its navy to the Middle East for independent information-gathering activities instead of participating in a U.S.-led coalition is being seen as a "product of compromise" by experts.

In the weeks leading up to the government's formal approval of the dispatch on Friday, Tokyo had to play a delicate balancing act between avoiding tensions with longtime ally Washington and maintaining its traditionally friendly ties with Tehran.

Blaming Iran for attacks on oil tankers in May and June in the Persian Gulf region, the United States has sought Japan and other countries to join the coalition for maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, while Iran has urged them not to take part, saying the stationing of foreign military forces could put the area at risk.