Country Report for the 8th APLMF Meeting
1. Recent Trends in Metrology
(1) Administrative Reform of the Central Government
In January 2001, the new Measurement and the Intellectual Infrastructure Division including Metrology Policy Office, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and the
Environment Bureau, the Ministry of Economy and Trade and Industry (METI) was
established as a part of the administrative reform of the central government. This change
was due to the unification of the Metrology Administration Office of the former Machinery
and Information Industries Bureau and Measurement Standards and Technical
infrastructure Division of the Standards Department of the former Agency of Industrial
Science and Technology. This reorganization enables the new Division to implement a
unified policy of legal metrology and measurement standards to serve as an infrastructure
of industrial technology and to respond to domestic and foreign requests.
(See attached METI pamphlet.)
(2) Reorganization of National Institutes
In April 2001, fifteen national research institutes of the former Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, which used to conduct technical development in connection with
the industrial technical policy of the national government, were unified, and an
independent agency, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
(AIST), including the Weights and Measures Training Center, was inaugurated.
Moreover, the National Measurement Standards Organizations, which used to be divided into the physical standards and legal metrology section of the former National
Research Laboratory of Metrology (NRLM), the reference materials section of the former
National Institute of Materials and Chemical Research (NIMC), and the electricity
standards section of Electro-Technical Laboratory (ETL), were combined to form the
National Metrology Institute of Japan (NMIJ). NMIJ is thus now able to achieve synergy
and effective correspondence of both legal metrology and measurement standards.
(See attached NMIJ pamphlet.)
(3) Promotion of Decentralization
Since April 2000, decentralization has been promoted from the viewpoint of reviewing the authority for both the national government and prefectural administrations. As a result,
- 1 -
the role of municipal measurement verification center has changed to an autonomous
function from the assigned function under the comprehensive supervision of the national
government. As of today, approximately 1,300 officers of prefectural administrations and
specified municipalities are working closely for consumers to ensure proper measurement
(4) International Harmonization in Legal Metrology
Japan has been a member nation of OIML since 1961 and has promoted international harmonization in national standards for specified measuring instruments regulated under
the Measurement Law based on the OIML recommendations and with the cooperation of
all parties concerned in the field of legal metrology.
In August 2000, the ministerial ordinance was amended in accordance with OIML recommendation R76 for non-automatic weighing instruments (NAWIs). This amendment
sought to harmonize the classification of grade accuracy and the verification tolerance.
In September 2001, a revised Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the National Metrology Institute of Japan (NMIJ) and Physikalisch-Technische
Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany, for the Mutual Recognition of the Pattern Approval Tests.
The results of such tests should conform to the OIML recommendation R76
(non-automatic weighing instruments, NAWIs). Also, the revised MOU to cover R76 for
NAWIs and R117 for Fuel Dispensers for Motor vehicles was signed between NMIJ and
the Netherlands Measurement Institute (NMi), and NMIJ signed the revised MOU for
NAWIs with ATS in Korea.
2. Enhancement of the Provision System of National Measurement Standards and
Revision of the Measurement Law
(1) Enhancement and Maintenance of the System of National Measurement
In June 1998, December 1999, and June 2001, METI published the report, “Improving
the Intellectual Infrastructure in Japan”, including policy for developing and supplying
measurement standards in Japan.
The report pointed out that Japan provided inadequate amounts of measurement standards and reference materials compared with Europe and the United States.
METI has decided to provide more national measurement standards by 2010. The plan considers the opinions and requests from parties concerned in the field of metrology
as well as social needs.
It also seeks to achieve its goals considering acceleration of development of electric
- 2 -
related standards, standards for next-generation industry, and consistency with the
environment and safety.
(2) System of National Institutes for Measurement Standards
In view of demands to internationalize measurement standards, the Global Mutual Recognition Arrangement on measurement standards was signed by 38 nations at the
General Conference on Weights and Measures in October 1999. The Arrangement seeks
mutual recognition of the global equivalence and calibration certificates among national
measurement standards institutes.
The base of mutual recognition is secured by third-party certification of key comparisons and quality systems. Measurement institutes in Japan are working on
establishing the organization systems and quality systems based on ISO/IEC 17025.
In addition, national measurement standards will be confirmed through peer reviews by overseas specialists from a technological standpoint (length and time standards were
confirmed in February 2001). These steps will be taken one by one, aiming at the early
establishment of the system.
(3) Review of Calibration System of Measurement Standards
The Japan Calibration Service System (JCSS), operated by the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE)
as a government agency under the Measurement Law,
has been receiving positive evaluations from industry. In December 1999, JCSS signed a
mutual recognition agreement with APLAC, and it received the follow-up inspection by
APLAC in September 2001.
JCSS has reviewed its system to enable it to provide measurement standards in conformity with the social needs, and, since April 2001, it has extended the scope of
calibration even up to the class that carries out the national measurement standards,
aiming to expand and strengthen the system.
(4) Revision of the Measurement Law for Improving Reliability of Metrological
In order to satisfy the increasing metrological needs for very-small-quantity pollutant substances such as dioxin, the Specified Measurement Laboratory Accreditation Program
(MLAP) established the classification of the concentration of the dioxin in the atmosphere,
underwater, and in soil under the Measurement Law.
In addition to inspecting the conventional hardware (measuring instruments) and people (certified measurers), this system examines whether or not process control of the
- 3 -
new measurement system is appropriately performed, and it allows only accredited
calibration laboratories to register for business to improve the reliability of measurement
certification. In connection with this, the rate of parts per quadrillion (ppq) has been added
to legal metrology units.
The revision of the Measurement Law will be implemented in April 2002.
3. Further expansion of International Cooperation
To actually implement the Global-MRA signed in October 1999, key comparisons and supplementary comparisons of CIPM and APMP have been conducted. Furthermore,
efforts have been made in preparing measurement instruments and in confirming the
equivalence of measurement standards in developing economies.
In practical terms, mutual comparisons of measurement standards have been implemented through a joint research scheme. JICA projects have also included
maintenance of instruments in measurement standards and technology transfers in
Since June 2000, JICA has provided transfer technology support in the field of legal metrology to Paraguay after the projects of Malaysia and Syria. In addition, Japanese yen
soft loans have been provided to Thailand to help maintain the facilities and instruments
for measurement standards.
Furthermore, six-month Legal Metrology Courses have been conducted by JICA since 1993 in order to enhance the legal metrology systems of developing economies. This
year, six trainees from China, Ghana, Indonesia, Panama, and Saudi Arabia were
Every year since 1996, the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS) group training courses have been conducted for 10 metrologists in private sectors in the
Asia-Pacific region including ASEAN countries, to provide technical improvement for
measurement in the fields of electricity and physics.
- 4 -