The Metric System and World Trade


    A SHORT time ago (March 29) Dr. C. E. Guillaume contributed to the Paris Academy of Sciences a paper on the obligatory adoption of the metric system in Japan. The Decent Japanese law making- the metric system compulsory after a fixed period will no doubt have considerable effect towards rendering the system familiar in trade in the Far East, where its use is already facultative in some countries. Before arriving at this decision the Japanese Government dispatched a Commission of inquiry to the principal trading centres of the world, so that the present law represents the outcome of prolonged and mature judgment, and as such supplies very satisfactory evidence in support of the international claims of the metric system. The values of the old units of Japan have for many years been defined in terms of the metre, and the kilogram, and, owing to this fact and to the issue of regulations on the subject, the trading community has gradually become accustomed to metric weights and measures. Dr. Guillaume expects that in a few years the only weights and measures permissible in eastern Asia will be those of the metric system. The enormous strides made by this system in the Far East cannot be without effect in the United States, where in the past one of the principal arguments against it was that British weights and measures were tacitly recognised in China, Japan, and Siam. It appears probable, therefore, that before long advocates of the metric system will be able to turn this line of reasoning against their opponents.

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    The Metric System and World Trade. Nature 107, 417–419 (1921).

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