With Emperor Meiji’s ascension to the throne in 1867, Japan theoretically restored power to the emperor, but because he was only 15 years old he had little governing power. Instead, the power rested with the new government consisting of a small, close-knit cabinet of advisers. This new cabinet immediately began implementing a series of reforms to both strengthen and unify Japan. One of their largest concerns was that Japan would not be able to regain its sovereignty if it did not modernize. With the recent display of the superior armament of the United States military with Commodore Perry in 1853, such concerns were not unfounded.