Japan's 30 years of Heisei Era is nearing an end as Emperor Akihito abdicates on April 30.

Here is a photo collection of major events in Japan during the earlier half of the Heisei Era.

  • 1989

(Chief Cabinet Secretary Keizo Obuchi unveils the name of a new era Heisei in January.)

(Emperor Akihito takes part in an enthronement ceremony in November.)

(Employees prepare a large amount of 1 yen coins at a Tokyo department store, ahead of the country's introduction of a consumption tax in April)

  • 1990

(Brokers rush to execute sell orders on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's trading floor in August. Plunging stock prices signaled the end of Japan's asset-inflated "bubble" economy.)

  • 1991

(Juliana's Tokyo discotheque opens in Tokyo in May.)

  • 1992

(Twin sisters, Kin Narita (R) and Gin Kanie, popular on television mark their 100th birthday in Nagoya in August.)

(Takahanada (R), alongside his elder brother Wakahanada, holds his victory parade in Tokyo after winning the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in September.)

  • 1993

(The Japanese professional soccer league J-League starts in May.)

  • 1994

(Sony Corp. launches PlayStation in December.)

  • 1995

(Black smoke is rising from burning houses in Kobe hit by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January.)

(Victims are treated after a sarin gas attack by the AUM Shinrikyo cult group hit the Tokyo subway in March.)

(Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers wins the National League's Rookie of the Year award.) 

  • 1996

(Nintendo Co. releases its first Pocket Monster game series in February.)

(Bandai Co. launches Tamagotchi, a hand-held digital pet game in November.)

  • 1997

(Radio pagers (R), a popular means of telecommunication during the 1990s)

  • 1998

(Japanese ski jumpers celebrate after winning the team gold medal in Nagano Olympics in February.)

  • 1999

(Singer Hikaru Utada releases her first album, sells over seven million copies to set a national record.)

>>IN PHOTOS: Look back over Japan's Heisei era (2/2) 2000-2019