Japan grappling with record cases of people suffering dementia

Japan grappling with record cases of people suffering dementia

Over 18,700 people with dementia reported missing in 2022, Japanese police data reveals

By Esra Tekin

ISTANBUL (AA) – An unprecedented number of 18,709 individuals with dementia or suspected dementia was reported missing in Japan during the year 2022, according to the latest police data released on Thursday.

This figure represents a notable increase of 6.1% compared to the previous year and nearly doubles the count of 9,607 cases reported in 2021, when comprehensive data collection commenced, confirmed the National Police Agency, according to Tokyo-based Kyodo News.

When categorized by prefecture, Hyogo in western Japan recorded the highest number of cases at 2,115, followed closely by Osaka with 1,996 cases, and Saitama, located near Tokyo, with 1,902 cases.

Out of the total reported cases, 17,923 individuals were found alive, with an impressive 77.5% of them being located on the very same day the reports were filed. Moreover, an overwhelming 99.6% were successfully traced within a week.

A total of 491 individuals were discovered to have passed away, including cases resulting from accidents.

Also, the overall count of missing persons in Japan reached 84,910 in 2022, representing an increase of 5,692 cases compared to the previous year, marking the second consecutive annual rise.

Among the age demographics, individuals in their 20s constituted the largest group with 16,848 reported cases, closely followed by those aged between 10 and 19, totaling 14,959 cases.

Of significant concern, the data revealed that the number of missing individuals aged 80 years and older stood at 13,749, with an additional 10,779 cases reported for individuals in their 70s. Combined, these four age groups accounted for over 60% of the overall total.

As Japan grapples with the challenges posed by its aging society, the concerted efforts of law enforcement agencies, communities, and organizations are crucial in ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals affected by dementia-related cases, according to the report.

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