Japanese emperor to abdicate on April 30, 2019

Japan's Emperor Akihito left and Empress Michiko greet guests during the annual autumn garden party at the Akasaka Palace imperial garden in Tokyo earlier this month

View Slideshow

Japan's Emperor Akihito is set to step down in April 2017, having announced past year that age and failing health might make it hard for him to fulfil his duties.

Officials said the timing was chosen so that Akihito can abdicate after reaching his 30th anniversary on the throne, a milestone.

The octogenarian Akihito will be succeeded by his heir, 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito.

The Cabinet is scheduled to approve the move in early December.

Japan's parliament enacted in June a law to allow Emperor Akihito to step down and pass his duties over to Crown Prince Naruhito.

Under the postwar Constitution in Japan, the emperor, once considered divine, is defined as "the symbol of the state" with no political power.

The Imperial House Council is a national deliberative body summoned to discuss important issues concerning the imperial family, such as marriage of male family members and the loss of imperial status.

Previous year the Emperor declared that it was hard to perform their duties due to old age, and he wished to pass the throne to the heir. In this regard, the Japanese Parliament passed a law allowing the Emperor to abdicate and to retire.

But the proposal met opposition from the Imperial Household Agency as ceremonies to mark the imperial succession would coincide with important year-end and New Year imperial events.

Akihito, along with Empress Michiko, has spent much of his time on the throne trying to address the legacy of World War Two, which was fought in his father Hirohito's name, and consoling victims of disasters or other woes.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced the date of the abdication of country's Emperor Akihito after the decision by the Imperial House Council.

Emperor Akihito is presently undergoing a prostrate cancer treatment.

Deadly Irish gangland threat to UFC star Conor McGregor
Cboe submits product certification for bitcoin futures