1 in 5 Japanese seniors will have dementia by 2060: government study


Around 20% of Japan’s population aged 65 and older is projected to suffer from dementia by 2020, the government said on Wednesday.

Key points:

  • Approximately 6.45 million elderly people in Japan are expected to have dementia by 2060.

  • Another 6.32 million may suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a condition preceding dementia.

  • The government is set to unveil a basic plan this fall to help people with dementia live with dignity.

The details:

  • According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 6.45 million people — or one in every 5.6 individuals — aged 65 and above will have dementia by 2060. This is down from a previous estimate of 8.50 million in 2015.

  • Lifestyle changes, such as improved diets and quitting smoking, as well as advances in high blood pressure and diabetes treatments may have curbed the projection in cognitive decline, ministry researchers said.

  • Still, the total number of dementia cases is expected to increase to 5.23 million by 2030 and to 5.84 million by 2040. Another 6.32 million are expected to develop mild cognitive impairment — the early stage of memory loss — by 2060.

  • The estimates were based on a study conducted from fiscal 2022 to fiscal 2023, covering 7,143 elderly people in four areas.

  • The number of people with dementia living alone is also expected to increase in the future, necessitating support measures from local communities.

  • Japan’s Basic Law on Dementia, its first legislation related to group of diseases, took effect in January. Measures to support patients and their families are expected to be finalized this fall.


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