In this Jan 2, 2017 file photo, Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers from the palace balcony during a New Year's public appearance with his family members at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI / AP)
TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet formally approved on Friday the date of April 30, 2019 as the abdication date for Emperor Akihito.
Emperor Akihito's elder son Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne on May 1, 2019
The Cabinet's approval occurred a week the Imperial Household Council's meeting of prime minister, politicians, the judiciary and imperial family members, agreed upon the date.
After the emperor abdicates, his elder son Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne on May 1, 2019.
A government body headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga will be set up next year to prepare for ceremonies marking the succession.
The government is also expected to announce in mid-2018 the name of the new era, or gengo, which normally lasts throughout an emperor's reign.
Japanese Emperor Akihito ascended to the throne after the death his father Hirohito in 1989, posthumously known as Emperor Showa.
Emperor Akihito indicated his wish to relinquish and hand over the throne to the crown prince in a rare video message in August last year, citing his age.
Japan's parliament enacted in June an one-off law to allow Emperor Akihito to step down and pass his duties over to Crown Prince Naruhito.
The law, designed specially for the current emperor, would allow Emperor Akihito to be the first Japanese emperor who relinquishes the throne in about 200 years.