Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

A record 15,863 people with dementia were reported missing in 2017, according to the National Police Agency on June 14, highlighting a sad symptom of Japan’s aging society.

The figure, made up of 8,851 men and 7,012 women, marked a new high for the fifth straight year since records began in 2012, and was up 431 from the previous year.

Ninety percent of the missing dementia patients were in the 70s or older, with 8,220 of them in their 80s or older, 6,193 in their 70s, and 1,336 in their 60s.

By prefecture, Osaka had the highest number of those wondered off, became lost and were then reported missing, with 1,801 cases, followed by Saitama Prefecture with 1,734, Hyogo Prefecture with 1,396, Aichi Prefecture with 1,341, and Tokyo with 1,284.

The total number of people reported missing overall remained the same as the previous year at 84,850.

People in their 20s accounted for the largest share of missing people with 17,052, followed by teenagers with 16,412, people in their 30s with 10,615, and elderly people aged 80 or older with 10,476.

The reasons for people going missing varied across age groups.

“Job related matter” was top of the list of reasons for those in their 20s and 30s, while “family matter” was the chief reason for teens, and “dementia” was the major cause for the 80-and-aboves.

The number of missing dementia patients located in 2017 totaled 15,761, including some who went missing in 2016 and earlier, while 470 were found dead.