Japan's graying population means that building a strong framework for dementia care is among the country's most pressing issues, but experts say there is considerable room for improvement.

"Japan's health care system is highly developed and highly specialized," said Shekhar Saxena, director of mental health at the World Health Organization, "but in terms of identifying and treating people with dementia, Japan needs to involve general doctors and nurses much more than what is being done now."

Saxena was one of around 300 people who attended an international conference on dementia care last week in Tokyo.