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.
The decision was made during a Friday meeting of the Imperial House Council, which included politicians, judicial officials and imperial family members.
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.
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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.
Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers from the palace balcony during a New Year's public appearance in 2017.
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In an Instagram post , Xi called her spill "one of the hardest moments I have ever had to go through in my career", especially in front of a hometown crowd.
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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The announcement would be a way to offset a likely decision delaying his campaign promise to move the U.S. Israel considers all of the city its indivisible capital.