Shaku (ritual baton)
Shaku or Hu is a ritual tablet or flat scepter of Chinese origin, used in Japan and currently or in China, Korea and Ryukyu. The Hu was used at court for the taking of notes and was made of bamboo. Officials could record speaking notes on the tablet ahead of the audience, record the Emperor's instructions during the audience; the Emperor could use it for notes during ceremonies. It became a ritual implement, it became customary for officials to shield their mouths with their hu when speaking to the Emperor. The hu can be made of different material according to the holder's rank: sovereigns used jade, nobles used ivory, court officials used bamboo. Japanese shaku is made of woods like Japanese yew, cherry, sakaki or Japanese cedar, it became a religious instrument in Taoism and Shintoism. The Buddhist god King Yama, judge of the underworld, is depicted bearing the hu; the hu or shaku is seen in portraits of Chinese Mandarins, Japanese shōguns and noblemen, but is now used by Taoist priests and Shinto priests.
The use of the hu as a ritual baton originated in ancient China, where the Classic of Rites required a hu to have a length of two chi six cun, mid part has a width of three cun. In China it was customary to hold the hu with the narrow end up; this is the opposite of Japanese practice. From the Jin dynasty onwards, with the proliferation of paper, the hu became a ceremonial instrument. During the Tang dynasty, court etiquette required officials to wear the hu in their belts when riding horses; the Chancellor was provided with a hu rack, carried into the palace. After an audience, the hu could be left on the rack. Lesser officials had hu bags. During the early Tang dynasty, mandarins of the fifth rank or above used ivory hu, while those below used wooden ones; the rules were further elaborated to require that mandarins of the third rank or above used hu which were curved at the front and straight at the back, while those of the fifth rank or above used hu which were curved at the front and angled at the back.
The hu used by lower rank mandarins were made of bamboo and were angled at the top and square at the bottom. In the Ming dynasty, mandarins of the fourth rank or above used ivory hu, while those of the fifth rank or below used wooden ones; the hu fell out of use in the Qing dynasty. The greater ceremonial deference demanded by Qing emperors meant that officials had to greet the emperor by kowtowing, making it impractical to carry the hu to an audience; the standard reading in Japanese for the character used to write shaku is kotsu, but, one of the readings for the character bone and is thus avoided to prevent bad luck. The character's unusual pronunciation seems to derive from the fact the baton is one shaku in length. A shaku or teita is a baton or scepter about 35 cm long held vertically in the right hand, was traditionally part of a nobleman's formal attire. Today it is used however by Shinto priests during functions, not only with a sokutai but with other types of formal clothing as the Jōe, the kariginu and the ikan.
The Emperor's shaku is more or less square at both ends, while a retainer's is rounded above and square at the bottom. Both become progressively narrow towards the bottom. Oak is considered the best, followed in order by holly, cherry and Japanese cedar; the shaku had a strip of paper attached to the back containing instructions and memoranda for the ceremony or event about to take place, but it evolved into a purely ceremonial implement meant to add solemnity to rituals. According to the Taihō Code, a set of administrative laws implemented in the year 701, nobles of the fifth rank and above had to use an ivory shaku, while those below that rank were to use oak, Japanese yew, cherry, Japanese cedar, or other woods. Ivory, was too hard to obtain, the law was changed; the Engishiki, a Japanese book of laws and regulations written in 927, permits to all the use of shaku of unfinished wood, except when wearing special ceremonial clothes called reifuku
Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. He succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon the death of his father Emperor Shōwa on 7 January 1989. According to Japan's traditional order of succession, he is the 125th member of the world's oldest reigning dynasty; the Japanese government announced in December 2017 that Akihito will abdicate on 30 April 2019 due to his age and declining health. In Japan, the Emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to His Majesty. In writing, the Emperor is referred to formally as "The Reigning Emperor"; the Era of Akihito's reign bears the name "Heisei", according to custom he will be renamed Emperor Heisei by order of the Cabinet after his death. At the same time, the name of the next era under his successor will be established. If the Emperor abdicates as planned, he will receive the title of Jōkō, an abbreviation of Daijō Tennō, the new era, "Reiwa", will be established. Accordingly, the Imperial Household Agency designated the official translation of Jōkō as "Emperor Emeritus".
Akihito was born in the Tokyo Imperial Palace, Japan, is the elder son and the fifth child of the Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun. Titled Prince Tsugu as a child, he was raised and educated by his private tutors and attended the elementary and secondary departments of the Peers' School from 1940 to 1952. Unlike his predecessors in the Imperial family, he did not receive a commission as an army officer, at the request of his father, Hirohito. During the American firebombing raids on Tokyo in March 1945, Akihito and his younger brother, Prince Masahito, were evacuated from the city. During the American occupation of Japan following World War II, Prince Akihito was tutored in the English language and Western manners by Elizabeth Gray Vining, he studied at the Department of Political Science at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, though he never received a degree. Akihito was heir-apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne from the moment of his birth, his formal Investiture as Crown Prince was held at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on 10 November 1952.
In June 1953 Akihito represented Japan at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London. Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko made official visits to thirty-seven countries; as an Imperial Prince, Akihito compared the role of Japanese royalty to that of a robot. He expressed the desire to help bring the Imperial family closer to the people of Japan. Upon the death of Emperor Hirohito on 7 January 1989, Akihito acceded to the throne, with the enthronement ceremony taking place on 12 November 1990. In 1998, during a state visit to the United Kingdom, he was invested with the UK Order of the Garter. On 23 December 2001, during his annual birthday meeting with reporters, the Emperor, in response to a reporter's question about tensions with Korea, remarked that he felt a kinship with Koreans and went on to explain that, in the Shoku Nihongi, the mother of Emperor Kammu is related to Muryeong of Korea, King of Baekje, a fact, considered taboo. Emperor Akihito underwent surgery for prostate cancer on 14 January 2003.
In response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima I nuclear crisis, the Emperor made a historic televised appearance urging his people not to give up hope and to help each other. The Emperor and Empress made a visit on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 to a temporary shelter housing refugees of the disaster, in order to inspire hope in the people; this kind of event is extremely rare, though in line with the Emperor's attempts to bring the Imperial family closer to the people. In 2011 he was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. In February 2012, it was announced. In August 1957, he met Michiko Shōda on a tennis court at Karuizawa near Nagano; the Imperial Household Council formally approved the engagement of the Crown Prince to Michiko Shōda on 27 November 1958. At that time, the media presented their encounter as a real "fairy tale", or the "romance of the tennis court", it was the first time a commoner had married into the Imperial Family, breaking more than 2,600 years of tradition.
The engagement ceremony took place on 14 January 1959, the marriage on 10 April 1959. The Emperor and Empress had three children: sons Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan and Fumihito, Prince Akishino and daughter Mrs. Sayako Kuroda; the announcement about the then-Crown Prince Akihito's marriage to the then-Ms. Michiko Shōda drew opposition from traditionalist groups, because Shōda came from a Roman Catholic family. Although Shōda was never baptized, she was educated in Catholic schools and seemed to share the faith of her parents. Rumors speculated that Empress Kōjun had opposed the engagement. After the death of Empress Kōjun in 2000, Reuters reported that she was one of the strongest opponents of her son's marriage, that in the 1960s, she had driven her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to depression by persistently accusing her of not being suitable for her son. According to the Constitution of Japan, Akihito is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." Unlike other constitutional monarchs, his function is defined as representative and ceremonial in nature, without a nominal role in government.
He is limited to acting in matters of state as del
Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, rushes, heather, or palm branches, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. Since the bulk of the vegetation stays dry and is densely packed—trapping air—thatching functions as insulation, it is a old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates. Thatch is still employed by builders in developing countries with low-cost local vegetation. By contrast, in some developed countries it is the choice of some affluent people who desire a rustic look for their home, would like a more ecologically friendly roof, or who have purchased an thatched abode. Thatching methods have traditionally been passed down from generation to generation, numerous descriptions of the materials and methods used in Europe over the past three centuries survive in archives and early publications. In some equatorial countries, thatch is the prevalent local material for roofs, walls.
There are diverse building techniques from the ancient Hawaiian hale shelter made from the local ti leaves, lauhala or pili grass. Palm leaves are often used. For example, in Na Bure, thatchers combine fan palm leave roofs with layered reed walls. Feathered palm leaf roofs are used in Dominica. Alang-alang thatched roofs are used in Bali. In Southeast Asia, mangrove nipa palm leaves are used as thatched roof material known as attap dwelling. In Bali, the black fibres of Arenga pinnata called ijuk is used as thatched roof materials used in Balinese temple roof and meru towers. Sugar cane leaf roofs are used in Kikuyu tribal homes in Kenya. Wild vegetation such as water reed, bulrush/cat tail, broom and rushes was used to cover shelters and primitive dwellings in Europe in the late Palaeolithic period, but so far no direct archaeological evidence for this has been recovered. People began to use straw in the Neolithic period when they first grew cereals—but once again, no direct archaeological evidence of straw for thatching in Europe prior to the early medieval period survives.
Many indigenous people of the Americas, such as the former Maya civilization, the Inca empire, the Triple Alliance, lived in thatched buildings. It is common to spot thatched buildings in rural areas of the Yucatán Peninsula as well as many settlements in other parts of Latin America, which resemble the method of construction from distant ancestors. After the collapse of most extant American societies due to diseases introduced by Europeans, wars and genocide, the first Americans encountered by Europeans lived in structures roofed with bark or skin set in panels that could be added or removed for ventilation and cooling. Evidence of the many complex buildings with fiber-based roofing material was not rediscovered until the early 2000s. French and British settlers built temporary thatched dwellings with local vegetation as soon as they arrived in New France and New England, but covered more permanent houses with wooden shingles. In most of England, thatch remained the only roofing material available to the bulk of the population in the countryside, in many towns and villages, until the late 1800s.
Commercial distribution of Welsh slate began in 1820, the mobility provided by canals and railways made other materials available. Still, the number of thatched properties increased in the UK during the mid-1800s as agriculture expanded, but declined again at the end of the 19th century because of agricultural recession and rural depopulation. A 2013 report estimated. Thatch became a mark of poverty, the number of thatched properties declined, as did the number of professional thatchers. Thatch has become much more popular in the UK over the past 30 years, is now a symbol of wealth rather than poverty. There are 1,000 full-time thatchers at work in the UK, thatching is becoming popular again because of the renewed interest in preserving historic buildings and using more sustainable building materials. Although thatch is popular in Germany, The Netherlands, parts of France, Sicily and Ireland, there are more thatched roofs in the United Kingdom than in any other European country. Good quality straw thatch can last for more than 50 years.
Traditionally, a new layer of straw was applied over the weathered surface, this "spar coating" tradition has created accumulations of thatch over 7’ thick on old buildings. The straw is bundled into "yelms" before it is taken up to the roof and is attached using staples, known as "spars", made from twisted hazel sticks. Over 250 roofs in Southern England have base coats of thatch that were applied over 500 years ago, providing direct evidence of the types of materials that were used for thatching in the medieval period. All of these roofs are thatched with wheat, rye, or a "maslin" mixture of both. Medieval wheat grew to 6 feet tall in poor soils and produced durable straw for the roof and grain for baking bread. Technological change in the farming industry affected the popularity of thatching; the availability of good quality thatching straw declined in England after the introduction of the combine harvester in the late 1930s and 1940s, the release of short-stemm
Imperial Regalia of Japan
The Imperial Regalia of Japan known as the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, consist of the sword Kusanagi, the mirror Yata no Kagami, the jewel Yasakani no Magatama. The regalia represent the three primary virtues: valor and benevolence. Due to the legendary status of these items, their locations are not confirmed, but it is thought that the sword is located at the Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya, the jewel is located at the Three Palace Sanctuaries in Kōkyo, the mirror is located at the Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture. Since 690, the presentation of these items to the Emperor by the priests at the shrine has been a central element of the enthronement ceremony; this ceremony is not public, these items are by tradition seen only by the Emperor and certain priests. Because of this, no known photographs or drawings exist. Two of the three treasures were last seen during the accession and enthronement of Emperor Akihito in 1989 and 1993, but were shrouded in packages. According to legend, these treasures were brought to earth by Ninigi-no-Mikoto, legendary ancestor of the Japanese imperial line, when his grandmother, the sun goddess Amaterasu, sent him to pacify Japan.
These treasures were said to be passed down to Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor of Japan and was Ninigi's great-grandson. Traditionally, they were a symbol of the emperor's divinity as a descendant of Amaterasu, confirming his legitimacy as paramount ruler of Japan; when Amaterasu hid in a cave from her brother Susanoo-no-Mikoto, thus plunging the world in darkness, the goddess Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto hung the mirror and jewels outside the cave and lured her out of the cave, at which point she saw her own reflection and was startled enough that the gods could pull her out of the cave. Susanoo presented the sword Kusanagi to Amaterasu as a token of apology. At the conclusion of the Genpei War in 1185, the eight year-old Emperor Antoku and the Regalia were under the control of the Taira clan, they were present when the Taira were defeated by the rival Minamoto clan at the Battle of Dan-no-ura, fought on boats in the shallow Kanmon Straits. The child-emperor's grandmother threw herself, the boy, the sword and the jewel into the sea to avoid capture.
The mirror was recovered, but according to the main account of the battle, a Minamato soldier who tried to force open the box containing it was struck blind. The jewel was recovered shortly afterwards by divers. There are a number of medieval texts relating to the loss of the sword, which variously contended that a replica was forged afterwards, or that the lost sword itself was a replica or the sword was returned to land by supernatural forces; the possession by the Southern Dynasty of the Imperial Regalia during the Nanboku-chō period in the 14th century has led modern chroniclers to define it as the legitimate dynasty for purposes of regnal names and genealogy. The importance of the Imperial Regalia to Japan is evident from the declarations made by Emperor Hirohito to Kōichi Kido on 25 and 31 July 1945 at the end of World War II, when he ordered the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan to protect them "at all costs"; the phrase "Three Sacred Treasures" is retrospectively applied to durable goods of modern Japan.
During a policy address in 2003 Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said that during the mid-1950s and mid-1960s, the "three sacred treasures" for durable goods were the washing machine and the black and white television, the automobile, air conditioner, color television set from the mid-1960s to the mid 1970s. Alvin and Heidi Toffler's Powershift use them to symbolize the three kinds of power they distinguish: force and knowledge. Regalia Chrysanthemum Throne Imperial House of Japan Japanese mythology National seals of Japan Order of the Sacred Treasure Shinto Jinnō Shōtōki
In Shinto, shintai, or go-shintai when the honorific prefix go- is used, are physical objects worshipped at or near Shinto shrines as repositories in which spirits or kami reside. Shintai used in Shrine Shinto can be called mitamashiro. In spite of what their name may suggest, shintai are not themselves part of kami, but rather just temporary repositories which make them accessible to human beings for worship. Shintai are of necessity yorishiro, objects by their nature capable of attracting kami; the most common shintai are man-made objects like mirrors, jewels and sculptures of kami called shinzō, but they can be natural objects such as stones, mountains and waterfalls. Before the forcible separation of kami and Buddhas of 1868 a shintai could be the statue of a Buddhist deity. Famous shintai include the mirror, Mount Miwa, Mount Nantai, the Nachi Falls, the Meoto Iwa rocks. Many mountains like Mount Miwa or the Three Mountains of Kumano are considered shintai and are therefore called shintaizan.
The most known and renowned shintai is Mount Fuji. A yokozuna, a wrestler at the top of sumo's power pyramid, is a living shintai. For this reason, his waist is circled by a shimenawa, a sacred rope which protects sacred objects from evil spirits. A kannushi, that is, a Shinto priest, can become a living shintai when a kami enters his body during religious ceremonies; the founding of a new shrine requires the presence of either a pre-existing occurring shintai, or of an artificial one, which must therefore be procured or made to the purpose. An example of the first case are the Nachi Falls, worshiped at Hiryū Shrine near Kumano Nachi Taisha and believed to be inhabited by a kami called Hiryū Gongen. In the second, the mitama of a kami is divided in half through a process called kanjō and one of the halves is stored in a yorishiro; this is the process which has led to the creation of networks of shrines housing the same kami, as for example the Hachiman shrine, Inari shrine or Kumano shrine networks.
Because over the years the shintai is wrapped in more and more layers of precious cloth and stored in more and more boxes without being inspected, its exact identity may become forgotten. The first role of a shrine is to protect its shintai and the kami which inhabits it. If a shrine has more than one building, the one containing the shintai is called honden; the shintai leaves the honden only during festivals, when it is put in a "divine palanquin", carried around the streets among the faithful. The portable shrine is used to hide it from sight. Yorishiro
2019 Japanese imperial transition
Emperor Akihito of Japan is set to abdicate on 30 April 2019, which will make him the first Japanese Emperor to do so in over two hundred years. This marks the end of the Heisei period, will precipitate numerous festivities leading up to the accession of his successor, Crown Prince Naruhito; the enthronement ceremony will happen on 22 October 2019. Akihito's younger son, Prince Akishino, is expected to become his brother's heir presumptive. In 2010, Emperor Akihito informed his advisory council that he would like to retire from his demanding job. However, no action was taken by senior members of the Imperial Household Agency. On 13 July 2016, national broadcaster NHK reported that the Emperor wished to abdicate in favor of his elder son Crown Prince Naruhito within a few years. Senior officials within the Imperial Household Agency denied that there was any official plan for the monarch to abdicate. A potential abdication by the Emperor would require an amendment to the Imperial Household Law, which has no provisions for such a move.
On 8 August 2016, the Emperor gave a rare televised address, where he emphasized his advanced age and declining health. With the intention of the abdication now known, the Cabinet Office appointed Yasuhiko Nishimura as the Imperial Household Agency's Vice Grand Steward. In October 2016, the Cabinet Office appointed a panel of experts to debate the Emperor's abdication, which recommended that the law should be a one-off measure for Akihito alone. In January 2017, the Lower House Budget committee began informally debating the constitutional nature of the abdication. On 19 May 2017, the bill that would allow Akihito to abdicate was issued by the Japanese government's cabinet. On 8 June 2017, the National Diet passed a one-off bill allowing Akihito to abdicate, for the government to begin arranging the process of handing over the position to Crown Prince Naruhito; the abdication has been set to occur on 30 April 2019. He will receive the title of Jōkō, an abbreviation of Daijō Tennō, upon abdicating, his wife, the Empress, will become Jōkōgō.
On 1 December 2017, the Imperial Household Council, which had not met in 24 years, did so in order to schedule the ceremonials involved in the first such transfer of power in two centuries. The Imperial Household Council consists of the Prime Minister, the Speaker and Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President and Vice-President of the House of Councillors, the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency, the Chief Justice and one justice of the Supreme Court, two members of the Imperial Family. Prince Akishino, the Emperor's younger son, has been asked to stand down as he is an "interested party" in the matter, he was replaced by Prince Hitachi, the Emperor's 82-year-old younger brother, the other one is Hitachi's wife Princess Hanako. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the date was chosen to permit the old Emperor to be able to preside over a 30th anniversary Jubilee and to coincide with the Golden Week annual holiday period, turning the changeover from a period of mourning and makeshift ceremonial into a joyous, well-planned, festival.
On December 8, 2017, the government created a special committee to oversee the events. According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga: "It will deal with the matter properly, taking into consideration the possible impact on the people's lives." The committee met for the first time in January 2018, the following month announced that a plan called a "basic policy statement," was released on April 3. Official farewell celebrations began with a 30th Jubilee ceremony on February 12, 2019, a delay which would avoid any implication of a celebration of the death of the Emperor Shōwa on January 7; the government has consolidated the Golden week holidays into a special ten day block lasting from April 27 to May 6. Had the transition not been scheduled in advance, April 29 and May 3–6 are national holidays in 2019, following the weekend of April 27–28; the abdication and enthronement would both be national holidays, public holiday law states that a regular work day sandwiched between two national holidays would become "Public" holidays.
Since the Meiji Restoration in 1867, a new Japanese Era starts. However, in Emperor Akihito's case, manufacturers of calendars and other paper products need to know the new Era's name in advance to produce wares in a timely manner. While the Era names for the Shōwa and Heisei eras were kept state secrets until the deaths of the previous Emperors, not possible in this case, because an abdication is unprecedented since the 1885 Meiji Constitution was adopted. In order to prevent divisive debate on the subject, delaying the announcement as late as is possible, either the old Emperor's birthday or his jubilee celebrations had been suggested; until the Era name became known and software manufacturers needed to test their systems before the transition in order to ensure that the new era will be handled by their software. Some systems provide test mechanisms to simulate a new era ahead of time; the new Era name, "Reiwa", was revealed on 1 April 2019 by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga during a televised press conference.
The Enthronement Ceremony for Emperor Naruhito is scheduled to take place on 22 October 2019, marking the end of the transition period. It is to be an extra holiday. Emperor Akihito informs his advisory council that he would like to retire and to help him arrange it. July: Emperor Akihito leaks to the press his wishes to retire. July 13: NHK reports his wishes to the public. August 8: The Emperor makes address to the public o
Japan Self-Defense Forces
The Japan Self-Defense Forces, JSDF referred to as the Self-Defense Forces, Japan Defense Forces, or the Japanese Armed Forces, are the unified military forces of Japan that were established in 1954, are controlled by the Ministry of Defense. The JSDF ranked as the world's fifth most-powerful military in conventional capabilities in a Credit Suisse report in 2015 and it has the world's eighth-largest military budget. In recent years they have been engaged in international peacekeeping operations including UN peacekeeping. Recent tensions with North Korea, have reignited the debate over the status of the JSDF and its relation to Japanese society. New military guidelines, announced in December 2010, will direct the JSDF away from its Cold War focus on the former Soviet Union to a focus on China regarding the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, while increasing cooperation with the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea and Australia. Deprived of any military capability after being defeated by the Allies in World War II and signing a surrender agreement presented by General Douglas MacArthur in 1945, Japan had only the U.
S. occupation forces and a minor domestic police force on. Rising Cold War tensions in Europe and Asia, coupled with leftist-inspired strikes and demonstrations in Japan, prompted some conservative leaders to question the unilateral renunciation of all military capabilities; these sentiments were intensified in 1950 as occupation troops began to be moved to the Korean War theater. This left Japan defenseless and much aware of the need to enter into a mutual defense relationship with the United States to guarantee the nation's external security. Encouraged by the American occupation authorities, the Japanese government in July 1950 authorized the establishment of a National Police Reserve, consisting of 75,000 men equipped with light infantry weapons. In 1952, Coastal Safety Force, the waterborne counterpart of NPR, was founded. Under the terms of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, United States forces stationed in Japan were to deal with external aggression against Japan while Japanese ground and maritime forces would deal with internal threats and natural disasters.
Accordingly, in mid-1952, the National Police Reserve was expanded to 110,000 men and named the National Safety Forces. The Coastal Safety Force was transferred with it to the National Safety Agency to constitute an embryonic navy; the trauma of World War II produced strong pacifist sentiments among the nation. In addition, under Article 9 of the United States–written 1947 constitution, Japan forever renounces war as an instrument for settling international disputes and declares that Japan will never again maintain "land, sea, or air forces or other war potential." Cabinets interpreted these provisions as not denying the nation the inherent right to self-defense and, with the encouragement of the United States, developed the JSDF step by step. On July 1, 1954, the National Security Board was reorganized as the Defense Agency, the National Security Force was reorganized afterwards as the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, the Coastal Safety Force was reorganized as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force was established as a new branch of JSDF.
General Keizō Hayashi was appointed as the first Chairman of Joint Staff Council—professional head of the three branches. The enabling legislation for this was the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Act; the Far East Air Force, U. S. Air Force, announced on 6 January 1955, that 85 aircraft would be turned over to the fledgling Japanese air force on about 15 January, the first equipment of the new force. In 1983, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone pledged to make Japan an "unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Pacific", assisting the United States in defending against the threat of Soviet bombers. Although possession of nuclear weapons is not explicitly forbidden in the constitution, Japan, as the only nation to have experienced the devastation of nuclear attacks, expressed early its abhorrence of nuclear arms and its determination never to acquire them; the Atomic Energy Basic Law of 1956 limits research and use of nuclear power to peaceful uses only. Beginning in 1956, national policy embodied "three non-nuclear principles"—forbidding the nation to possess or manufacture nuclear weapons or to allow them to be introduced into its territories.
In 1976 Japan ratified the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and reiterated its intention never to "develop, use, or allow the transportation of nuclear weapons through its territory". Nonetheless, because of its high technology level and large number of operating nuclear power plants, Japan is considered to be "nuclear capable", i.e. it could develop usable nuclear weapons within one year if the political situation changed significantly. Thus many analysts consider Japan a de facto nuclear state. Japan is said to be a "screwdriver's turn" away from possessing nuclear weapons, or to possess a "bomb in the basement". On May 28, 1999, the Regional Affairs Law was enacted, it allows Japan to automatically participate as "rear support" if the United States begins a war under "regional affairs." The Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law was passed on October 29, 2001. It allows the JSDF to contribute by itself to international efforts to the prevention and eradication of terrorism. While on duty the JSDF can use weapons to p