Japanese encephalitis (JE) is the leading form of viral encephalitis in Asia. It is caused by the JE virus (JEV), which belongs to the family Flaviviridae. JEV is endemic to many parts of Asia, where periodic outbreaks take hundreds of lives. Despite the catastrophes it causes, JE has remained a tropical disease uncommon in the West. With rapid globalization and climatic shift, JEV has started to emerge in areas where the threat was previously unknown. Scientific evidence predicts that JEV will soon become a global pathogen and cause of worldwide pandemics. Although some research documents JEV pathogenesis and drug discovery, worldwide awareness of the need for extensive research to deal with JE is still lacking. This review focuses on the exigency of developing a worldwide effort to acknowledge the prime importance of performing an extensive study of this thus far neglected tropical viral disease. This review also outlines the pathogenesis, the scientific efforts channeled into develop a therapy, and the outlook for a possible future breakthrough addressing this killer disease.