Mitutoyo was founded in 1934 by Yehan Numata with one product, the micrometer. Mitutoyo's philosophy at that time was to make high-quality micrometers, but also to produce them in quantities that made them affordable and available to all of manufacturing. This philosophy was expanded in the next several decades to include a wider product offering focused on mechanical, dimensional gaging products, such as calipers, dial indicators, and other measuring tools.
As electronic technology became more widespread in the 1970s, Mitutoyo applied electronics to its line of dimensional gaging equipment to include electronic, or digital, measuring tools. During this time it also began to offer larger, more complex and more sensitive measuring instruments, including optical comparators, form measuring equipment, and coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). As statistical process control (SPC) was introduced, Mitutoyo led the world in the development of output gages, interfaces, data collectors and analysis software to take advantage of this new metrological science.
When the computer made its way into the field of metrology, Mitutoyo again shifted its focus to include this technology into its product offering and push measuring accuracies into the sub-micrometre range. Today, Mitutoyo presents its 6,000+ products as integrated, computer-based metrology systems, where they can be interconnected to form closed-loop-measuring networks.
Mitutoyo America Corporation was formed in 1963 and is headquartered in Aurora, Illinois (just outside of Chicago). Mitutoyo America offers the full product line of precision measuring tools, instruments and equipment with a distribution network, training and education classes, software development, and service support to provide a comprehensive metrology organization.
Dr. Yehan Numata is also the founder of Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK), the Society for the Promotion of Buddhism, which sponsors the Buddhist Canon Translation Project.
Conviction for illegal activities
On 14 September 2006, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office indicted four former executives of the Mitutoyo Corporation. The company was penalized for violating the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law prohibiting the company from exporting any products for 6 months, and from exporting measuring devices for an additional 2½ years (2007-mid 2010). In addition, the Japanese court gave the former executives multi-year jail sentences (suspended) and fined Mitutoyo ¥45 million (aprox. $350,000 USD). It was found that Mitutoyo created software for their products which would falsify the accuracy of the measurements taken in order to circumvent customs inspections.
There is evidence that a portion of Mitutoyo’s illegal exports helped in nuclear weapon programs in Libya, Iran, and North Korea. In particular, several Mitutoyo coordinate measuring machines were allegedly sold to Scomi Precision Engineering in Malaysia. The Scomi scandal was part of a wider arms smuggling operation masterminded by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.
- ^ "The Mitutoyo Case: Will Japan Learn from its Mistakes or Repeat Them?". http://www.nti.org/e_research/e3_90.html.
- ^ "EVADING EXPORT CONTROLS: MITUTOYO CORPORATION AS A CASE STUDY IN DETERMINED PROLIFERATION". http://www.wmdinsights.com/I9/I9_EA1_EvadingExport.htm.
- ^ NY Times 25 August 2006
- ^ Video of NHK News Bulletin Item
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