A government advisory panel met Monday for the first time to discuss measures to reduce Emperor Akihito's public duties, with the central issue expected to be whether and how an emperor should be allowed to abdicate due to advanced age.

There is no provision for abdication in the current Imperial House Law, as policymakers in the late 19th century believed it would weaken the Imperial system.

The six-member panel plans to hear from experts and will ultimately draft policy recommendations for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, possibly by next spring.