The government will scrap a draft proposal that set a numerical target for reducing the number of dementia patients, health minister Takumi Nemoto said Tuesday, citing concerns from patients and their families that they could blame themselves for failing to prevent the disease.

Last month, the government proposed its first numerical goal on the disease — which involves a decline in cognition including memory loss — aiming to reduce the number of patients in their 70s by 10 percent over the next decade.

The proposal was aimed at curbing growth in welfare spending at a time when the population is rapidly graying, but questions were raised because preventive measures are not scientifically proven.