Japan's Emperor to abdicate in April 2019

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Late April is also more appropriate for many Japanese to embrace the change of an era after settling down from a busy period of travel and job transfers around April 1, the beginning of a new fiscal year.

Akihito, who will be 85, said his age was a concern.

Japanese Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate on April 30, 2019, after a almost 30 years reign and marking an end of an imperial era, the Imperial House Council announced on Friday.

The decision was made during a Friday meeting of the Imperial House Council, which included politicians, judicial officials and imperial family members.

Emperor Akihito will become first Japanese monarch to abdicate in 200 years

1 that Crown Prince Naruhito would become emperor on May 1, 2019, based on recommendations made in a meeting of the Imperial Household Council.

Mr Abe later met reporters briefly to announce that they had decided the emperor would step down on 30 April 2019.

The emperor's abdication will end the current Heisei era in its 31st year.

The Japanese Emperor has no political powers, but is expected to perform several national duties, including greeting other heads of state. It was last held in 1993 to approve the crown prince's marriage to Masako Owada.

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Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers from the palace balcony during a New Year's public appearance in 2017.

The panel is headed by Abe and its members include the heads of both chambers of parliament, the Supreme Court chief justice, the head of the Imperial Household Agency and two imperial family members.

After his abdication, Emperor Akihito will be called "joko" (a title for an emperor who abdicates in favour of a successor) and Empress Michiko, 83, will be given the title of jokogo.

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