Metre Convention was signed by representatives of 17 countries in Paris on May 20, 1875 to establish units of measurement and promote their use throughout the world. Japan became a signatory to the Convention in 1885. Subsequently, national units of measurement were unified, and the metric system was adopted in 1959, except for the area of land and buildings, and was completely enforced on April 1, 1966. Today, there are 56 signatories to the Metre Convention. (As of February 2015)
Representatives of the governments of the member states meet every fourth year for the “Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures” CGPM (previous meeting was held in November 2014). The CIPM (Comité International des Poids et Mesures) consists of 18 representatives from different countries, and which they meets annually. The CIPM undertakes preparatory work for technical decisions to be made by the CGPM. Japan has been taking a post as one of the CIPM members since 1907. The Consultative Committees supports CIPM to discuss and consider the international research assignments on standards, which CIPM was referred by CGPM. The members of the Consultative Committees are mainly representatives of the national metrology institutes and other experts. The BIPM was supervised by the CIPM and assumes the secretariat of the CIPM as well as being a research institute of the international research assignment on standards. The BIPM is located along the Seine River in a suburb of Paris and has 70 permanent staff. The international prototype of the kilogram is kept in the BIPM.