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Never thought about it before, but I'm guessing that each object has to be run by a thread, so even if you don't implement runnable or extend thread, there is still a thread running the Java application.
The wait() and notify() methods are object-specific. The wait() method suspends the current thread of execution, and tells the object to keep track of the suspended thread. The notify() method tells the object to wake up the suspended threads that it is currently keeping track of. Since wait() and notify() are object specific, they must be used within code that is synchronized on the object in question.