A numerical goal will be set for the first time for reducing the number of people in Japan with dementia, with an eye to cutting incidence among patients in their 70s by 6 percent over the next six years, government sources said Wednesday.

The development came a day after the Geneva-based World Health Organization published its first guidelines on the prevention and management of the disease.

The move by Tokyo is aimed at curbing an anticipated rise in social security expenses, by promoting prevention and delaying the onset of the disease. The government plans to state its goals in a new outline of policies to tackle dementia set to be released this summer, they said.