- Surface Area : 372 213 km2
1. LAWS OF METROLOGY
In Japan, a modern legal metrology system was initially established
with the enactment of the Law of weights and Measures in 1891. The legal
units for measurement were unified into the metric system in 1921, This
law was revised into the 1951 Measurement Law. In 1992 the law and related
regulations were significantly revised and became effective in 1993 in
order to correspond to new social needs, i,e. internationalization, technological
innovation, and deregulation. The Measurement Law is supplemented by cabinet
orders and ministerial orders.
2. LEGAL UNITS OF MEASUREMENT
The new Measurement Law is based on the SI (Systeme international d'Unites)
system with limited exceptions for some particular cases, e.g. pound/yardage
system for the aerospace area.
3. STRUCTURE OF METROLOGICAL CONTROL AUTHORITIES
3.1 Weights and Measures Office, MITI
The weights and Measures Office of the Machinery and Information Industries
Bureau, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), is in charge
of the legal aspects of implementation of the Measurement Law and basic
planning for metrology regulation in Japan.
Weights and Measures Office
Machinery and Information Industries Bureau, MITI
l-3-l Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 100 Japan
3.2 Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), MITI
This agency consists of a secretariat and 15 research laboratories.
The National Research Laboratory of Metrology (NRLM) and the EIectrotechnical
Laboratory (ETL) are in charge of the pattern approval of measuring instruments
and the inspection of verification standards. In addition, the following
four research laboratories are responsible for maintaining national primary
3.2.1 National Research Laboratory of Metrology (NRLM), AIST, MITI
The NRLM maintains length, mass, temperature, density, viscosity, humidity,
atomic time and frequency, force, hardness, and vibration standards.
1-1-4, Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305 Japan
3.2.2 Electrotechnical Laboratory (ETL), AIST, MITI
The ETL maintains such primary standards as electric current, electric
resistance, voltage, and illuminance.
1-1-4, Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305 Japan
Fax: +81 -298-58-5345
3.2.3 National Institute for Materials and Chemical Research (NIMCR),
AIST, MITI The NIMCR
- controls reference materials in the chemical
field and related technology.
1-1, Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305 Japan
Fax: +81 -298-54-4639
3.2.4 National Institute for Resources and Environment (NIRE), AIST,
MITI The NIRE
controls heat-quantity standard Ibenzoic acid).
16-3, onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305 Japan
Fax: +8l -298-58-8208
3.3 International Trade and Industry Inspection Institute (IIII), MITI
The IIII has two basic functions from the metrological point of view.
(1) It serves as a secretariat in the calibration laboratory accreditation
system and designated manufacturer system which will be explained later.
Officers here also work as assessors in the accreditation process. (2)
This institute maintains some certified reference materials.
2-49-10 Nishihara, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 151 Japan
3.4 Local verification organisations
To carry out the objectives of the Measurement Law uniformly throughout
Japan, there are 47 prefectural verification institutes of weights and
measures and 85 municipal inspection institutes of weights and measures.
The main functions of prefectural institutes are to verify legally specified
measuring instruments used for trade, to register manufacturers, retailers
and repairers of measuring instruments, to inspect weighing instruments
periodically, and so on. The main functions of municipal institutes are
to inspect weighing instruments periodically and to inspect packaging commodities.
3.5 JEMIC and designated verification institutes
The Japan Electric Meters Inspection Corporation (JEMIC), a non-profit
institution established by special law, is responsible for the verification
of electricity meters.
In addition, the Measurement Law allows MITI the authority to designate
non-profit testing laboratories as designated verification institutes which
are obliged to conduct verifications.
The Japan Quality Assurance Institute (JQA) and Japan Gas Appliances
Inspection Association have been designated so far. The former institute
is responsible for the verification of thermometers, calorimeters, aneroid
blood pressure gauges, noise level meters, vibration level meters, and
instruments for measuring concentration, while the latter institute is
responsible for calorimeters.
3.6 Instrument calibration and evaluation systems
Verification standards used for verification/inspection purposes must
check the traceability to the national measurement standards periodically.
Instrument calibration services for such verification standards are provided,
according to the type of standard, by the NRLM, ETL, JEMIC, and prefectural
verification institutes to those institutes or businesses related to regulation.
Calibration services for the private sector not necessarily related
to regulation are provided by the calibration laboratory accreditation
system stipulated in the new Measurement Law. This accreditation system
is referred to as the Japan Calibration Service System (JCSS). (Refer to
4. RANGE OF EQUIPMENT SUBJECT TO LEGAL METROLOGY
The Measurement Law stipulates the following two restraints concerning
the use and supply of certain measuring instruments (referred to as "
specified measuring instruments" ) in order to ensure accurate metrology.
Containers for specified commodities are also subject to control.
4.1 Specified measuring instruments for trade
Measuring instruments for trade purposes shall not be used unless (1)
their design and structure satisfy the pattern requirements and (2) each
individual instrument meets the accuracy requirement. The Cabinet Order
identifies the following 18 types of instruments as " specified measuring
instruments" . Some items were added and some were dropped before
and after the new Law, for e.g., digital electric non-automatic weighing
instruments with a range between 30 kg and 2t were added to the list while
graduated ruler, tape measure, graduated tank, etc. were dropped from the
- Weighing instrument
- Hide planimeter
- Volume meter
- Current meters
- Density hydrometer
- Pressure gauge
- Flow meter
- Maximum demand power meter
- Watt-hour meter
- Reactjve watt-hour meter
- Noise level meter
- Vibration level meter
- Instrument for measuring concentration
- Relative density hydrometer
- The Measurement Law also requires the manufacturers,
retailers of specified measuring instruments
to notify the local weights
and measures institutes.(This notification
requirement has replaced the
registration requirement in the old law).
4.2 Specified measuring instrument for household use
- There is another control for those specified
used mainly for general household purposes
(even though not used for trade
or certification). Manufacturers of such
instruments are obliged to make
their products in compliance with certain
technical requirements. Kitchen
scales, bathroom scales, and baby scales
are subject to this control.
4.3 Special containers
- Special containers for the following commodities
are allowed to be
used for trade by filling the commodities
up to a certain height level.
The manufacturers of the containers must
be designated by MITI as technically
proficient and the types of containers must
be stipulated by Ministerial
Order. Foreign test data issued by MITI approved
laboratories are acceptable.
- Milk (except skim milk), processed milk and
- Lactic acid drinks
- Worcester sauce
- Soy sauce
- Drinking water
- Sparkling soft drinks
- Fruit drinks
- Acid drink made of milk or dairy products
- Refined sake
- Fruit liquor
- Synthetic sake
- Agricultural chemical solutions
5. PATTERN APPROVAL
5.1 Legal and technical requirements for pattern approval
- MITI is responsible for ensuring that the
design of the specified measuring
instrument meets certain criteria for accurate
measurement. The Minister
carries out this responsibility by examining
the designs of measuring instruments
and testing sample instruments.
- Once the pattern of an instrument has been
approved, MITI issues a
certificate of approval and subsequent production
instruments made to the
pattern must be marked with an assigned type
number. The marking and numbering
on a production instrument is the primary
indication to the prefectural
and other verification institutes that the
measuring instrument is of an
- Pattern approval is required for all the
specified measuring instruments,
regardless of type as listed in clause 4.1.
and foreign manufacturers can apply for pattern
approval testing of these
5.2 Execution of pattern approval tests
- The authority for pattern approval is delegated
to NRLM, ETL and JEMIC.
These three institutes carry out the pattern
examination according to the
type of instrument. (Refer to the list in
clause 4.1. Pattern approvals
for the instruments marked with 4 are granted
by NRLM, with by ETL,
by NIRE and with by JEMIC).
- NRLM, ETL, NIRE and JEMIC usually examine
all the test items specified
in the Ministerial Order. However, test data
issued by the designated verification
institutes (refer to clause 3.5) or by foreign
laboratories approved by
MITI are acceptable.
5.3 Recognition/acceptance of OIML certificates
- Although the revision of the Ministerial
Order was made to agree to
the greatest possible extent with the OIML
recommendations, the technical
specifications in Japan are not identical
to them. Therefore, the OIML
certificates issued in foreign countries
are not accepted unconditionally.
However, the data for the common test items
will be highly respected.
- There has been no submission of OIML certificates
to the pattern approval
authorities in Japan as of January 1995.
5.4 List of major testing facilities for pattern approval
- The NRLM, for instance, has the following
major testing facilities:
- - Electromagnetic Susceptibility (EMS) testing facility
- - Temperature controlled chamber for environmental tests
- - Non-automatic weighing instrument testing facility
- - Thermometer testing facility
- - Aneroid pressure gauge testing facility
- - Water meter (smaller than 350mm in diameter) testing facility
5.5 Fee structure for pattern approval and verification
- The fee structure for pattern approval and
verification is stipulated
in the Cabinet Order as follows:
- Type of specified instrument
- Type Approval
- Weighing instrument
- Hide and skin planimeter
- Water meter
- Pressure-proof density hydrometer
- Aneroid pressure gauge
- Integrating calorimeter
- Maximum demand power meter
- Watt-hour meter
- Reactive watt-hour meter
- Vibration level meter
- Glass alcoholometer
- Relative density hydrometer
6. VERIFICATION, REVERIFICATION AND INSPECTION
- Article 16 of the new Measurement Law states
that no specified measuring
instrument shall be used or owned for the
purpose of measurement in a trade
or certification without a valid verification
mark. A valid verification
mark is affixed when an instrument satisfies
the type requirements (usually
checked by type approval marking) and accuracy
requirement stipulated in
the Ministerial Order. Verifications are
carried out by local institutes,
JEMIC and by other designated verification
institutes according to type
(refer to clauses 3.4 and 3.5).
- 6.2 Reverification
- The Cabinet Order specifies the duration
of the validity of a verification
mark for certain measuring instruments. In
this case, reverifications will
be made after required repairs. The following
main examples for such instruments
are indicated with their duration periods:
Water meter 8 years
Gas meter 10 years
Watt-hour meter 7 years
- In addition, the taximeter is subject to
reverification after a one
year interval. Test items for reverification
are identical to the initial
6.3 Periodical inspection
- Periodical inspection is a simplified version
of reverification. The
maximum permissible error for periodical
inspection is basically twice
as large as that for verification.
- Test items for periodical inspection are
Weighing instrument 2 years
Hide and skin planimeter 1 year
6.4 Designated manufacturer
- When a manufacturer of specified measuring
instruments is designated
by MITI as having an excellent quality system
and inspection facilities,
it may deliver its products after conducting
its own self inspection, which
replaces official initial verification. This
designated manufacturer must
also keep inspection records for three years
for consequent audit by the
local verification institute. The requirement
for this designation is stipulated
in the Ministerial Order which is basically
identical to ISO 9002. Instruments
manufactured by such designated manufacturers
are still subject to the
control of periodical inspection or reverification.
- Foreign test data issued by MITI approved
institutes are acceptable.
7. ACCREDITATION SYSTEM
7.1 Calibration laboratory accreditation system
- A calibration laboratory accreditation system
was established by the
new Measurement Law. An accredited calibration
laboratory is allowed to
provide a calibration certificate marked
with JCSS when the laboratory
has calibrated a measuring instrument of
a general user by its secondary
standard calibrated by the national primary
- The law specifies that the requirements for
- (1) to have secondary standards traceable
to the national primary standards
- (2) to have enough technical proficiency
to carry out calibration activity
precisely and smoothly and
- (3) to maintain quality systems with adequate
- Details of the requirements are duplicated
from the ISO Guide 25.
- The law also stipulates that designated calibration
secondary national standards to the accredited
laboratories. This two tier
system was established to reduce the increased
number of calibration requests
to the national laboratories. JEMIC also
plays the same role in the field
of electricity standards. JQA has been designated
to calibrate length,
high frequency power, laser power beam, and
benzoic acid, while the Chemical
Inspection and Testing Institute, Japan (CITI)
has been designated to provide
- The logo mark JCSS stands for the Japan Calibration
The first letter of the logo mark issued
by the accredited laboratories
is a capital " J" (see above),
while that issued by the national
primary standard laboratories or designated
calibration institutes is a
small " j" .
- The following chart describes the whole accreditation
7.2 Quality System accreditation system
- The Japan Accreditation Board for Quality
System (JAB) is the accreditation
body for the accreditation system in Japan.
This is a voluntary scheme
and therefore there is no formal link with
the legal metrology area.
8. LEGAL METROLOGY PRACTITIONERS
8.1 Staff size of metrological organisations
- The following is an approximate number of
people involved in the legal
metrology area as described above. There
is no formal academic requirements
but most of the researchers in the research
institutes of AIST hold a master
degree or higher in the field of science
- Organization (as of July 1994)
- Staff size
- Weights and Measures Office
- NRLM, AIST
- ETL, AIST
- NIMCR, NIRE, AIST
- Weights and Measures Training Institute
- Prefectural Verification Institutes (47)
- Municipal Inspection Institutes (85)
8.2 Training courses for domestic practitioners
- Training courses are provided mainly for
verifiers and inspectors working
in local institutes by the weights and Measures
Training Institutes located
in the suburban area of Tokyo. No officer
can conduct official verification
or inspection without completing the appropriate
technical training course
offered by this Institute. The training courses
cover lectures on the Law
and the structure of instruments and technical
training for verification
of measuring instruments.
8.3 Training courses for foreign metrology practitioners
- The Japan International Co-operation Agency
(JICA) training program
has covered the legal metrology area for
about twenty years. Training period
is about five months accepting six trainees
per year. Trainees will have
lectures and technical training on type approval,
verification and inspection
at the NRLM, JEMIC and local institutes.
Applicants must have enough English
proficiency and experience on legal metrology.
More than 250 trainees have
completed this course so far and 140 are
from Asian countries.
8.4 Measurement certification business
- Those who intend to perform the business
of measurement certification
on the following items must register with
the prefectural office.
- Measurement certification of length, mass,
area, volume or amount of
heat of goods at the time of loading, unloading
or warehousing of these
goods for the purpose of transporting, depositing
or selling. (referred
to as " general measurement certification"
- Measurement certification of concentration
density of polluted air,
water and soil, noise level and vibration
level. (referred to as "
environmental measurement certification"
- The registration procedure is completed only
when each applicant employs
appropriate measuring instruments and at
least one certified measurer or
an experienced personnel who assumes the
responsibility of quality control
of the measurement certification activity.
- A registered measurement certification business
must have periodical
measurement certification inspection performed
by the local government
for all of its registered measuring instruments.
When a registered measurement
certification business is assumed not to
be conforming to requirements
above, the prefectural office shall issue
an improvement order and force
that business to follow it.
8.5 Certified measurer
- The Minister may register those having sufficient
knowledge and experience
to properly perform inspection of measuring
instruments and other measurement
control as a " certified measurer"
- There are three categories for the registration:
Environmental certified measurer for concentration
- : those who deal with measurement of concentration
in the air and/or
Environmental certified measurer for noise and vibration
- : those who deal with measurement of noise
and/or vibration levels.
General certified measurer
- : those who deal with measurement of quantities
other than the above
- The requirement for the registration is either:
- to pass the National Certified Measurer Examination
and to have working
experience corresponding to the registration
- to complete the appropriate course given
by the weights and Measures
Training Institute, to have working experience
corresponding to the registration
category and to be certified as competent
as those who passed the national
exam by the Weights and Measures Council.
- Certified measurers can perform inspections
which exempt users of weighing
instruments and registered measurement certification
businesses from mandatory
official periodical inspections.
9. LEGISLATIVE CONTROL FOR PACKAGED GOODS
- The Measurement Law requires that those who
sell certain consumer goods
indicating the net content by weight or volume
must measure the net content
accurately so that the indication and the
true value are within a certain
permissible error. The Cabinet Order specifies
28 types of consumer goods
which should be regulated by this control
from the viewpoint of protecting
consumers benefits, and therefore such goods
are referred to as "
specified goods." The specified goods
are listed below. Imported specified
goods are also under this control.
- rice and wheat
- beans (processed and unprocessed)
- rice flour and wheat flour
- vegetables (processed and unprocessed)
- fruits (processed and unprocessed)
- tea, coffee, and cocoa
- rice cake, oatmeal and other processed flour
- snacks and chocolates
- meat (processed, frozen and unprocessed)
- milk (processed and unprocessed)
- fish (processed, frozen and unprocessed)
- seaweed (processed and unprocessed)
- salt, soybean paste, etc.
- sauce, broth, etc.
- soy sauce and vinegar
- pre-cooked foods
- powder juice mix, etc.
- drinks (non-alcoholic and alcoholic, except
for liquid medicines)
- liquid petroleum gas
- lubricating oil
- paints, lacquer and thinner
- detergent for home use
- In addition, certain specified goods, when
sold in a sealed package,
including milk, cheese, snacks, meat, alcoholic
drinks and retort pouch
foods must indicate the net content and satisfy
the accuracy requirement.
- Local governments randomly visit retail shops
and check if the indication
is within the permissible measurement error.
If a retailer of specified
goods is regarded as hindering accurate measurement
by not abiding by this
regulation, the local governments have the
right to recommend the retailer,
manufacturer and/or importer of the goods
satisfy accurate measurement
requirement and, if necessary, to consequently
publish the name of the
retailer and/or manufacturer. The permissible
error for extra quantity,
which used to be set by the old Measurement
Law, has been removed in the
new Law to harmonize with the 0IML recommendation.
- The main penalties for violating the Measurement
Law are as follows:
- I. Imprisonment for up to one year, or a fine of up to one million
- Delivering a clinical thermometer or an aneroid
blood pressure gauge
without a verification mark.
- II. Imprisonment for up to six months, or
a fine of up to 500 thousand
- using a specified measuring instrument for
trade without valid verification
- Marking of type approval on an unapproved
- III. Fine of up to 500 thousand yen.
- Those who trade or certify using illegal
units of measurement.
- Those who do not periodically inspect specified
- Those who do not heed a warning on the violation
of packaging control.
- IV. Fine of up to 300 thousand yen.
- Manufacturers,retailers and repairers who
are requested to notify but
do not comply.