Emperor Akihito will step down on April 30, 2019 – the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in about two centuries.
A 10-member Imperial Household Council of lawmakers, royals and supreme court justices, chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, agreed on the timing.
Akihito, who turns 84 on Dec. 23 and has had heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer, said in rare remarks last year that he feared age might make it hard for him to fulfil his duties.
He will be succeeded by his heir, 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito.
This is the first abdication by an emperor in 200 years and the first under the (post-war) constitution. The last time a Japanese emperor abdicated was in 1817.
Post-war law had not allowed for abdication, so a one-off law was adopted in June to let Akihito step down.