The United States, the United Kingdom, and Bangladesh were the top three source nations for foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India in 2022, according to official data. The Indian Ministry of Tourism released the information in a statement on World Tourism Day, according to PTI. Also read: How to get an Indian Tourist Visa from Bangladesh India recorded 6.19 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2022, up from 1.52 million in 2021, it said. During the pre-pandemic year 2019, India had 10.93 million FTAs. The tourism industry has shown promising indications of recovery following the pandemic, according to Union Minister of Tourism G Kishan Reddy, who stated this in a written response to a question in Rajya Sabha in April. Also read: Mumbai Travel Guide: Must-visit Places and Fun Activities The Ministry of Tourism further stated that India got Rs 1,34,543 crore (USD 16.93 billion) in foreign exchange revenues, a "remarkable increase" from Rs 65,070 crore in 2021. In addition, India's share of foreign tourist receipts in US dollars is 2.08 percent. According to the report, India ranks 14th in the world in terms of tourist receipts. Also read: With G20 event, India seeks to project normalcy in disputed Kashmir The Delhi airport formed 31.21 percent of the top eight ports for FTAs in India in 2022, the report also said.
Maldivians vote in a runoff presidential election that will decide whether India or China holds sway
Maldivians were voting Saturday in the runoff presidential election which has turned into a virtual referendum on which regional power — India or China — will have the biggest influence in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation. Neither main opposition candidate Mohamed Muiz nor incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih got more than 50% in the first round of voting earlier in September, triggering a runoff election. Solih, who was first elected president in 2018, is battling allegations by Muiz that he had allowed India an unchecked presence in the country. Muiz's party, the People’s National Congress, is viewed as heavily pro-China. Read: Sri Lankan leader leaves Maldives, protesters leave offices Muiz secured a surprise lead with more than 46% of votes in the first round, while Solih secured 39% votes. Abdullah Yameen, leader of the People’s National Congress, made the Maldives a part of China’s Belt and Road initiative during his presidency 2013 to 2018. The initiative is meant to build railroads, ports and highways to expand trade — and China’s influence — across Asia, Africa and Europe. The Maldives is made up of 1,200 coral islands in the Indian Ocean located by the main shipping route between the East and the West. Read: Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Maldives 'must collect visas' Muiz promised that if he won the presidency, he would remove Indian troops stationed in the Maldives and balance the country’s trade relations, which he said were heavily in India’s favor. There are more than 282,000 eligible voters and the runoff result is expected Sunday. Read more: Indian Foreign Minister to leave for Maldives & Sri Lanka today
A powerful bomb exploded near a mosque at a rally celebrating the birthday of Islam's Prophet Muhammad in southwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing at least 52 people and injuring nearly 70 others, police and a government official said. The bombing occurred in Mastung, a district in Baluchistan province, where around 500 people had gathered for a procession to celebrate the birth anniversary of the prophet. Muslims hold rallies and distribute free meals to people on the occasion, which is known as Mawlid an-Nabi. TV footage and videos on the social media showed an open area near a mosque strewn with the shoes of the dead and wounded after the bombing. Some of the bodies had been covered with bedsheets, and residents and rescuers were seen rushing the wounded to hospitals, where a state of emergency had been declared and appeals were being issued for blood donations. Suicide blast in southern Pakistan kills 3 Chinese, driver Baluchistan has witnessed scores of attacks by insurgents and militants, but they usually target security forces. The Pakistan Taliban have also repeatedly said that they do not target worship places and civilians. Those injured in the blast were taken to nearby hospitals and some were in critical condition, government administrator Atta Ullah said. Abdul Rasheed, the District Health Officer in Mastung, said 30 bodies were taken to one hospital and 22 others were counted at a second hospital. A senior police officer, Mohammad Nawaz, was among the dead, Ullah said. Officers were investigating to determine whether the bombing was a suicide attack, he added. Friday's bombing came days after authorities asked police to remain on maximum alert, saying militants could target rallies making the birthday of Islam's prophet. Also Friday, a blast ripped through a mosque located on the premises of a police station in Hangu, a district in the northwester Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, wounding seven people, said Shah Raz Khan, a local police officer. A bomb at a political rally in northwest Pakistan kills at least 40 people and wounds more than 150 He said the mud-brick mosque collapsed because of the impact of the blast and rescuers were removing the debris to pull out worshippers from the rubble. Police say it was not immediately clear what caused the blast. No one claimed responsibility, and it was unclear what caused the blast when around 40 people were praying at the mosque. Most of the worshippers were police officers,Pakistan's President Arif Alvi condemned the attack and asked authorities to provide all possible assistance to the wounded and the victims' families. In a statement, caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti denounced the bombing and expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of lives. He said it was a "heinous act" to target people in the Mawlid an-Nabi procession. The government had declared a national holiday for the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad, and President Alvi and caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul-haq-Kakar in separate messages had called for unity and for people to adhere to the teachings of Islam's prophet. No one immediately claimed responsibility for Friday's bombing, but Pakistani Taliban quickly distanced themselves from it. The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, is a separate group but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, which seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war. Bombing in crowded bazaar in southwestern Pakistan kills 5 The Islamic State group has claimed previous deadly attacks in Baluchistan and elsewhere.Also Friday, the military said two soldiers were killed in a shootout with Pakistani Taliban after insurgents tried to sneak into southwestern district of Zhob in Baluchistan province. Three militants were killed in the exchange, a military statement said. The gas-rich southwestern Baluchistan province at the border of Afghanistan and Iran has been the site of a low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists for more than two decades. Baluch nationalists initially wanted a share of provincial resources, but they later launched an insurgency calling for independence.
The exodus of ethnic Armenians this week from the region known as Nagorno-Karabakh has been a vivid and shocking tableau of fear and misery. Roads are jammed with cars lumbering with heavy loads, waiting for hours in traffic jams. People sit amid mounds of hastily packed luggage. As of Thursday, more than 78,300 people had left the breakaway region for Armenia. That's a huge number — more than half of the population of the region that is located entirely within Azerbaijan. Still, it's not the largest displacement of civilians in three decades of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Also read: At least 20 dead in gas station explosion as Nagorno-Karabakh residents flee to Armenia After ethnic Armenian forces secured control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories in 1994, refugee organizations estimated that some 900,000 people had fled to Azerbaijan and 300,000 to Armenia. When war broke out again in 2020 and Azerbaijan seized more territory, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said 90,000 had gone to Armenia and 40,000 to Azerbaijan. Those figures underline the fierce animosity between the two countries, and they raise questions about the region's future. WHAT IS THE REGION? Nagorno-Karabakh, with a population of about 120,000, is a mountainous, ethnic Armenian region inside Azerbaijan in the southern Caucasus Mountains. When both Azerbaijan and Armenia were part of the Soviet Union, the region was designated as an autonomous republic, but as Moscow's central control of far-flung regions deteriorated, a movement arose in Nagorno-Karabakh for incorporation into Armenia. Also read: Fighting to end as Armenia, Azerbaijan agree on cease-fire Tensions burst into violence in 1988 when more than 30 — some say as many as 200 — ethnic Armenians were killed in a pogrom in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. Armenians fled, as did many ethnic Azeris who lived in Armenia. When a full-scale war broke out, the numbers soared. That first war lasted until 1994. Azerbaijan regained control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and large swaths of adjacent territory held by Armenians in a six-week war in 2020, driving out tens of thousands of Armenians that the government in Baku declared to have settled illegally. WHAT HAPPENED IN RECENT DAYS? Last week, Azerbaijan launched a blitz that forced the capitulation of Nagorno-Karabakh's separatist forces and government. On Thursday, the separatist authorities agreed to disband by the end of this year. The events put the region's ethnic Armenians on the move out of the territory. Nagorno-Karabakh and the territory around it have deep cultural and religious significance for Christian Armenians and predominantly Muslim Azeris, and each group denounces the other for alleged efforts to destroy or desecrate monuments and relics. Armenians were deeply angered by recent video that purportedly showed an Azerbaijani soldier firing at a monastery in the region. Azeris have seethed with resentment at Armenians' wholesale pillaging of the once-sizable city of Aghdam and the use of its mosque as a cattle barn. WHY HAVE THE SEPARATISTS QUICKLY GIVEN UP? A Russian peacekeeping force of about 2,000 was deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh under an armistice that ended the 2020 war. But its inaction in the latest Azerbaijani offensive probably was a key factor in the separatists' quick decision to give in. In December, Azerbaijan began blocking the only road leading from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Also read: Armenia, Azerbaijan report 99 troops killed in border clash Armenians bitterly criticized the peacekeepers for failing to follow their mandate to keep the road open. The blockade caused severe food and medicine shortages in Nagorno-Karabakh. International organizations and governments called repeatedly for Baku to lift the blockade. Russia, which is fighting a war in Ukraine, seems to be unable or unwilling to take action to keep the road open. That appears to have persuaded the separatists that they would get no support when Azerbaijan launched its blitz. Nagorno-Karabakh's forces were small and poorly supplied in comparison with those of Azerbaijan, thanks to the country's surging oil revenues and support from Turkey. WHAT WILL THE FUTURE HOLD? Under last week's cease-fire, Azerbaijan will "reintegrate" Nagorno-Karabakh, but the terms for that are unclear. Baku repeatedly has promised that the rights of ethnic Armenians will be observed if they stay in the region as Azerbaijani citizens. That promise appears to have reassured almost no one. Although Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said last week that he saw no immediate need for Armenians to leave, on Thursday he said he expected that none would be left in Nagorno-Karabakh within a few days. Ethnic Armenians in the region do not trust Azerbaijan to treat them fairly and humanely or grant them their language, religion and culture. Without an international peacekeeping or police force in the region, ethnic violence would be almost certain to flare.
Sri Lanka has made commendable progress in implementing difficult but much-needed reforms and these efforts are bearing fruit as the economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday. An IMF mission team led by Peter Breuer and Katsiaryna Svirydzenka visited Colombo from Sept. 14 to 27 to discuss economic and financial policies to support the approval of the first review of the program under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement. Emirates, SriLankan Airlines ink interline agreement to boost connectivity The statement issued after the discussion said inflation is down from a peak of 70 percent in September 2022 to below two percent in September 2023, with gross international reserves increasing by 1.5 billion U.S. dollars during March-June this year. "Despite early signs of stabilization, full economic recovery is not yet assured. Growth momentum remains subdued, with real GDP in the second quarter contracting by 3.1 percent on a year-on-year basis and high-frequency economic indicators continuing to provide mixed signals. Reserve accumulation has slowed in recent months," the statement said. Sri Lanka pay off $200 million loan from Bangladesh with $4.5 million interest The statement said sustaining the reform momentum is critical to put the economy on a path towards lasting recovery and stable and inclusive economic growth, adding that the authorities have met the program's primary balance targets and remain committed to this important pillar of the program so as to support their efforts to restore debt sustainability. Sri Lanka repays $100million in second installment of loan taken from Bangladesh
The Chinese government on Wednesday accused Taiwan's ruling party of seeking independence, a day after the self-governing island's president lobbied for Australia's support in joining a regional trade pact. Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, also said the recent Chinese military drills around Taiwan were held to combat "the arrogance of Taiwan independence separatist forces." United States and China launch economic and financial working groups with aim of easing tensions China claims Taiwan, an island about 160 kilometers (100 miles) off its east coast, as its territory. The two split during the civil war that brought the Communists to power in China in 1949, with the losing Nationalists setting up their own government in Taiwan. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, meeting with six visiting Australian lawmakers on Tuesday, sought their country's support for Taiwan's bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation free trade agreement. Bangladesh, China to work together to push relations to a new height, says Dipu Moni The Australian parliamentary delegation discussed strengthening economic cooperation with Taiwan, particularly in clean energy, and expressed an interest in Taiwan's semiconductor industry. Zhu said that any participation by Taiwan in a regional economic grouping should be handled in accordance with the "one-China principle," which holds that the Communist Party is the government of China and Taiwan is a part of the country. "The Democratic Progressive Party's attempt to seek independence in the name of economy and trade will not succeed," she said, referring to Tsai's political party. Army Chief leaves for China to attend 19th Asian Games Zhu signaled that China would not ease up on its military activity around Taiwan. "As long as Taiwan independence's provocations continue, the People's Liberation Army's actions to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity will not stop," she said.
The U.N.'s most powerful body must support governments seeking to legally declare the intensifying crackdown by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers on women and girls "gender apartheid," the head of the U.N. agency promoting gender equality said Tuesday. Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, told the Security Council that more than 50 increasingly dire Taliban edicts are being enforced with more severity including by male family members. That is exacerbating mental health issues and suicidal thoughts especially among young women and is shrinking women's decision-making even in their own homes. "They tell us that they are prisoners living in darkness, confined to their homes without hope or future," she said. He spoke no English, had no lawyer. An Afghan man’s case offers a glimpse into US immigration court Under international law, apartheid is defined as a system of legalized racial segregation that originated in South Africa. But a growing consensus among international experts, officials and activists says apartheid can also apply to gender in cases like that of Afghanistan, where women and girls face systematic discrimination. "We ask you to lend your full support to an intergovernmental process to explicitly codify gender apartheid in international law," Bahous urged the 15-member council including its five permanent members: the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France. There is no existing international law to respond to "mass, state-sponsored gender oppression," Bahous said. But she said the Taliban's "systemic and planned assault on women's rights … must be named, defined and proscribed in our global norms so that we can respond appropriately." Two-year timeline of events in Afghanistan since 2021 Taliban takeover The Taliban took power in August 2021 during the final weeks of the U.S. and NATO forces' pullout from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. As they did during their previous rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban gradually reimposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, barring girls from school beyond the sixth grade and women from almost all jobs, public spaces, gyms and recently closing beauty salons. The Security Council meeting on U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' latest report on Afghanistan took place on the final day of the annual meeting of world leaders at the 193-member U.N. General Assembly. No country has recognized the Taliban, and the assembly's credentials committee hasn't either, primarily over its effort to relegate women to their homes and failure to form an inclusive government. This has left U.N. recognition with the now-ousted previous government led by Ashraf Ghani. For the third year, its representative did not speak at the high-level gathering. Bahous said that over the past year, UN Women collaborated with the U,N. political mission in Afghanistan known as UNAMA and the U.N. International Office for Migration to interview over 500 Afghan women. The Taliban are entrenched in Afghanistan after 2 years of rule. Women and girls pay the price Among their key findings, she said: — 46% think the Taliban should not be recognized under any circumstances; —50% think the Taliban should only be recognized after it restores women's and girls' rights to education, employment, and participation in government. The women interviewed said the dramatic shrinking of their influence on decision-making, not just at the national or provincial level but also in their communities and homes, is driven by increased poverty, decreasing financial contribution and "the Taliban's imposition of hyper-patriarchal gender norms," Bahous said. In a grim sign of women's growing isolation, she said, only 22% of the women interviewed reported meeting with women outside their immediate family at least once a week, and a majority reported worsened relations with other members of their family and community. Bahous said the restrictions on women have led to an increase in child marriage and child labor, and an increase in mental health issues. "As the percentage of women employed continues to drop, 90% of young women respondents report bad or very bad mental health, and suicide and suicidal ideation is everywhere," she said. Roza Otunbayeva, the U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, welcomed the recent visit of a group of Islamic scholars from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's member nations to Afghanistan to focus on girls' education, women's rights and the need for inclusive governance. The scholars stressed that these requirements are "integral to Islamic governance around the world," she said. "We urge that these visits continue. They are part of a vital conversation between the de facto authorities and the international community helpfully mediated by the Islamic world." Otunbayeva told reporters afterward that compared to the last visit of Islamic scholars, this time they left Afghanistan "quite satisfied." "We'll see what will be resolved" at the upcoming International Conference on Women in Islam, she said. That converence, co-sponsored by the OIC and Saudi Arabia, will take place in Jeddah in November. The U.N. envoy was asked whether any change in the Taliban's hardline policies on women and government functioning is possible as long as its leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, makes the final decisions. "He's the producer of decisions," Otunbayeva replied. She said she heard from a Cabinet member that more than 90% of its members support allowing girls to study, but as soon as such views get to the southern city of Kandahar, where Akhundzada is based, they are blocked. "So, far he is unreachable," Otunbayeva said. She said she tried to bring the entire ambassadorial corps to Kandahar for meetings with the provincial governor and others, but the meeting was canceled. The U.N. envoy said the mission is in constant contact with Taliban officials in the capital, Kabul, "even as we continue to disagree profoundly and express these disagreements." Tecently, Otunbayeva said, provincial councils composed of religious clerics and tribal elders have been created in each of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, aiming to provide accountability and listening to local grievances, but they also report to the Taliban leader. It's too early to judge their performance, but Otunbayeva noted that the councils for the predominantly Shiite provinces of Bamiyan and Daikundi have no Shiite members. She appealed to donors to support the $3.2 billion humanitarian appeal for the country, which has received just $872 million, about 28% of the needed funding. Many programs have been forced to close just as winter is approaching and people are most in need, Otunbayeva said. "This means that 15.2 million Afghans now facing acute food insecurity could be pushed towards famine in the coming months."
US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya has called on the international community to maintain pressure on Myanmar’s military regime to end the Rohingya crisis, and create the conditions for their voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable repatriation in the future. "We have a shared responsibility to work together to stop the violence and hold to account those responsible for genocide and other atrocities against Rohingya," she said while addressing a high-level UNGA side event held recently in New York ensuring continued global solidarity with Rohingya. The US Under Secretary added, "Only then can we hope to see the creation of a peaceful, inclusive, and democratic Burma where all of Burma’s people, including Rohingya, can thrive." The US is the only country that has pointedly refused to adopt the name Myanmar, for Burma in its official communications. UN Assistant Secretary General visits Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar Meanwhile, recognizing that Rohingya cannot safely return to their homeland, yet resettlement is another important way in which they can contribute to comprehensive solutions for the plight of Rohingya, she said. Since 2009, the United States has welcomed nearly 13,000 Rohingya from the region, including from Bangladesh, under resettlement programs. "We prioritize resettlement for the most vulnerable Rohingya, and we strongly encourage other governments to join us in welcoming Rohingya refugees to their countries. So to sum up, the United States is unwavering in our support for the Rohingya crisis response, and we welcome our partners’ solidarity," Zeya said. She thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the government of Bangladesh for inviting the United States to co-host the important gathering. Two months ago, the US Under Secretary visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and came away with three key conclusions. UNHCR welcomes S Korea’s contribution of USD 1 million for Rohingyas in Bangladesh First, she observed the extraordinary generosity of the government and people of Bangladesh. Six years since Bangladesh welcomed more than 740,000 Rohingya driven out by Burma’s military in a brutal campaign of genocide, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, Bangladesh continues to shelter these refugees because it’s the right thing to do and we applaud the government and people of Bangladesh for all they have done, Uzra Zeya said. Second, she saw the life-saving difference humanitarian assistance and the dedicated work of UNHCR, IOM, and others makes in the lives of Rohingya refugees and vulnerable host communities. "I also learned of the catastrophic consequences that arise when life-saving aid and support for basic needs don't arrive," said the US Under Secretary. The US announced that it is providing more than $116 million in new humanitarian assistance for people displaced in and from Burma as a result of the regime’s escalating violence, and for communities hosting refugees from Burma. This new funding includes more than $74 million for Rohingya refugees inside Bangladesh, in the region, and for communities hosting them. UK to push for long-term solution to Rohingya crisis This brings the total amount the United States has provided in response to the Rohingya crisis to more than $2.2 billion since 2017. "This US support enables our humanitarian partners to save lives. It provides protection, shelter, sanitation, and health care. It empowers Rohingya and Bangladeshis to create safer communities and helps ease the strain on host communities," Uzra Zeya said. Third, she witnessed the resolve of Rohingya women, men, and youth to build a future for themselves in Burma when conditions allow. Many of the refugees I met want to return home to a country that recognizes them as its citizens and protects their human rights, guarantees their safety, and holds accountable those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity. "Because of the military regime’s brutal, ongoing attempts to extinguish the democratic aspirations of the people of Burma, those conditions do not exist, and fear of continued persecution prevents Rohingya from returning," she said. In the meantime, Rohingya seek opportunities to build the skills needed to reintegrate sustainably into Rakhine State when conditions allow for their safe, dignified, and voluntary return. "We strongly encourage expansion of education and livelihood opportunities for Rohingya while they remain in Bangladesh, as we continue to support the local communities that host them," Uzra Zeya said.
A Pakistani court on Tuesday extended custody for former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges that he had revealed state secrets after his 2022 ouster, and ordered that he remain in custody for two more weeks. The development is the latest in an unprecedented pileup of legal cases against the country's top opposition leader and hugely popular former cricket star turned Islamist politician. Since his ouster in a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April last year, Khan has campaigned against Shehbaz Sharif, who succeeded him. The legal imbroglio underscores the deepening political turmoil in Pakistan since Khan's ouster and ahead of the next parliamentary elections, due in the last week of January. Sharif stepped down last month at the completion of parliament’s term and an interim government took over to steer Pakistan through the elections. Khan is facing more than 150 cases, including charges ranging from contempt of court to terrorism and inciting violence, and was sentenced to a three-year sentence on corruption charges in early August. Later that month, an Islamabad High Court suspended that sentence in what amounted to a legal victory for Khan. Still, he remained behind bars as another court — a special tribunal — ordered he be held over allegedly revealing official secrets in an incident late last year when Khan had waved a confidential diplomatic letter at a rally. Khan described the document as proof that he was threatened and that his ouster was a conspiracy by Washington, Sharif's government and the Pakistani military. All three have denied Khan's claims. The document, dubbed Cipher, has not been made public by either the government or Khan's lawyers but was apparently diplomatic correspondence between the Pakistani ambassador to Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. Khan’s lawyer Naeem Panjutha told reporters that a special court hearing the Cipher case has extended custody for the former premier until Oct. 10. The custody was initially to expire on Tuesday. Khan, 70, is being held at the high-security Attock Prison in the eastern Punjab province. He was supposed to be moved to Adiyala Prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, just outside of the capital of Islamabad, where better facilities are available. Khan's lawyers say he has refused the move for reasons that remain unknown.
Japan's health ministry has approved Leqembi, a drug for Alzheimer’s disease that was jointly developed by Japanese and U.S. pharmaceutical companies. It's the first drug for treatment of the disease in a country with a rapidly aging population. Developed by Japanese drugmaker Eisai Co. and U.S. biotechnology firm Biogen Inc., the drug's approval in Japan comes two months after it was endorsed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Read: Bangladesh needs multiple choices for better bargaining in foreign financial proposals: Japanese expert Leqembi is for patients with mild dementia and other symptoms in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and the first medicine that can modestly slow their cognitive decline. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who announced Japan's approval of Leqembi on Monday, called it “a breakthrough” and said that the “treatment of dementia has now entered a new era.” Kishida has pledged to step up support for the growing number of dementia patients and their families and is due to launch a panel this week to discuss measures for a dementia-friendly society. According to the health ministry, Japan's number of dementia patients who are 65 years of age or older will rise to 7 million in 2025, from the current 6 million. Read: 15 Japanese Concepts for Personal and Professional Development The drug, however, does not work for everyone and — as with other Alzheimer's drugs that target plaques in the brain — can cause dangerous side effects such as brain swelling and bleeding in rare cases. Eisai said it will conduct a post-marketing special use survey in all patients administered the drug until enough data is collected from unspecified number of patients under Japanese health ministry procedures. The drug will be partially covered by health insurance and is expected to be ready for clinical use by the end of the year. The price is yet to be decided but is expected to be expensive, Kyodo News agency reported. Read: Japan launches rocket carrying lunar lander and X-ray telescope to explore origins of universe Eisai is committed to delivering Leqembi to people who need it and their families “as a new treatment,” said Haruo Naito, the company’s CEO. “We aim to create impact on issues surrounding dementia in Japanese society," he said.