A record number of people with dementia were listed as missing last year.
The National Police Agency says that 16,927 cases involving confirmed or suspected dementia sufferers were reported in 2018. That was up 1,064 from the previous year.
The number of such missing cases has surpassed 10,000 for six consecutive years. Last year saw the highest number since police started collecting data in 2012.
Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, had the most cases at 2,117. Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo, followed with 1,782. Hyogo Prefecture, neighboring Osaka, came third with 1,585.
All but one percent of the missing dementia sufferers were found by the end of the year. But police say 197 were unaccounted for at yearend. Taking into account all the missing from past years, 508 were confirmed dead last year.
Police have stepped up measures to quickly locate missing dementia sufferers. They are offering special seminars to teach officers about the sufferers' behavioral patterns. And they're asking municipalities to submit pictures of the missing to create databases.