A special panel chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday set April 30, 2019, as the date for Emperor Akihito's abdication, the first retirement of a sitting Emperor in 200 years.

The Chrysanthemum Throne is considered the world's oldest monarchy.

The decision, expected to be approved by the government later this month, will pave the way for Crown Prince Naruhito, the eldest son of Emperor Akihito, to ascend the throne the following day, May 1, ushering in a new era that would end the Heisei Era, which started in 1989.