April 15th, 2013
07:48 AM ET
1 year ago

Kerry: Foreign students 'scared' of guns in U.S.

(CNN) – Students in other countries assessing where to study abroad are increasingly scared of coming to the United States because of gun violence, the nation's top diplomat said Monday.

Speaking with CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty in Tokyo, Secretary of State John Kerry said he'd discussed the situation with officials there who said students felt unsafe in the United States.

"We had an interesting discussion about why fewer students are coming to, particularly from Japan, to study in the United States, and one of the responses I got from our officials from conversations with parents here is that they're actually scared. They think they're not safe in the United States and so they don't come," Kerry said.

He noted Japan's restrictive gun laws – which prevent private ownership of nearly all firearms, including handguns – and said the country was safer "where people are not running around with guns."

In 2011, Japan sent 21,290 students to study in the United States, making it the seventh largest country of origin for international scholars. That was down 14% from the previous year, according to numbers from the Institute of International Education.

Figures have shown international study is down markedly among Japanese students to all destinations, including the United States. Experts have attributed the decline to Japan's low birthrate, the expense of foreign study in a poor economy, and a desire among Japanese young people to remain at home rather than venture to other countries.

Unlike the United States, the right to private gun ownership in Japan is not guaranteed in law. Individuals wishing to possess any firearm must obtain a license and demonstrate a reason for owning the gun.

Out of a total 582 homicides in Japan in 2008, 11 were by guns.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gun control • John Kerry
soundoff (1,100 Responses)
  1. jbmar1312

    The article points out that Japanese students trave to other countries is "markedly down" also. And that it is due to the low birth rate. How many foreign exchnage students have been shot here? Hmmm!

    April 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Derek

    This is just another attempt to gain leverage on new gun laws which obviously have been losing steam. Any college campus has a very huge number of foreign students who actively become involved with campus and American culture. I'd like to see th literature that supports Mr. Kerry's claim. I don't recall any recent gang rapes on busses or insurgents shooting at children who advocate for better education over here. Why does everyone migrate here if it's so unsafe? It obviously doesn't make sense to make these claims without an agenda.

    April 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. joe

    What a load of crap. More students were killed in China by knives then in the US by guns. This is alarmist propaganda. Europe has higher crime rates than the US! Here is the real reason and it is from the actual article not by the idiot learch.

    Figures have shown international study is down markedly among Japanese students to all destinations, including the United States. Experts have attributed the decline to Japan's low birthrate, the expense of foreign study in a poor economy, and a desire among Japanese young people to remain at home rather than venture to other countries.

    April 15, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. CommonSenseGovernmentControl

    PEOPLE! Tell me this. Why does the government want to remove the right of ordinary citizens to own firearms? Is it because we scare the Japanese? Is it because the mentally ill and criminals will now obey these new laws before they commit crimes? HELLO! No, it's because they want to turn people who believe in freedom into criminals. People that own firearms generally are not extremists, but are the portion of society that remind people like President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg that we do not want the government to tell us how to think and behave. You'll see after the 2nd amendment is gone and we will be defenseless to protect the 1st amendment. WAKE UP AMERICA! As a FREE society we have to accept some of it's tragic consequences, otherwise, you will eventually told by the GOVERNMENT that you must wear grey pants on Tuesday.

    April 15, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Athenasaints

    Background checks DOES NOT weed out idiotic, incompetent gun owners.

    April 15, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. wade moran

    Then don't come here.

    April 15, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. gstlab3

    If you are scared of guns you are most likely also scared of being killed and facing judgement from god for your sins like those committed against the smart and hard working American families by allowing the government to unleash wall street of regulation and off shoring all our good jobs and giving a free ride to certain groups of people who do not deserve to even be in America.

    April 15, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Matt

    Odd, all the young foreigners I've had the pleasure of hosting including Japanese and Dutch enjoyed shooting my guns. Yes that includes evil handguns and black rifles.

    April 15, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. godoflunaticscreation

    This article is bs. I work as a study abroad coordinator and the few foreigners who have these fears have had them for decades, based on ignorance and American films. They still come! They remark how much safer it is in NYC than in their home countries. On the flip side, Americans have real fears of studying abroad in other countries, where actual turmoil exists. This article is joke and propaganda!

    April 15, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Name

    This is whatO:-)O:-)O:-)O:-)

    April 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Serkan

    Foreign students mostly study in science and technology. Then they start inventing and making US what it is. If you look at the patents, many inventors are foreign born. If you go to Silicon Valley, you will understand.

    April 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. humtake

    Why is this surprising? The Democrats choose to concentrate on making the country more attractive to illegal immigrants while trying to take away rights given to us by the Constitution. The trend never ends.

    April 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. Fubarack

    "Figures have shown international study is down markedly among Japanese students to all destinations, including the United States."

    Ooops

    Just another attempt at an angle to separate legal gun owners from their guns. Anyway I think some countries have too many beheadings with swords, so I choose not to study there. You see, instead of whining about a countries culture, I simply don't have to go there.

    April 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. NotWorried

    Weren't the attacks on Va Tech done by some foreign losers???

    April 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Thomas

    Kerry: Foreign students 'scared' of guns in U.S.

    Then don't come to the USA.
    2nd Amendment. Enough said.

    April 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. erik

    The story even says that the students going to any country to study has declined. Way to use skewed info like usual to feed the sheep.

    April 15, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. cjones

    Politicians scare me.

    April 15, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Jimh77

    Really. We need no more foreign students in this Country till they pay their fair share. No more Giov assistance till this Gov takes care of it's own. We need to stop ALL foreign Aid. All of it.

    April 15, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. NotYoDaddy

    So which are they more afraid of John?

    Our Second Amendment rights, or their own Government Police Force?

    April 15, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. pablo

    too bad he's actually trying to shift the focus from Education to his boss' anti guns agenda... We need a bigger focus on education and that focus needs to start here at home first.

    April 15, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. JJ

    That is good. Let them stay home.

    April 15, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. PKK

    Wow...foreign students are frightened by gun violence in America? I guess Kerry conducted a scientific pool to come to this conclusion. I'm sure that it's not a concerted effort on the behalf of the current administration, just a coincidence that this should be topically relevant in the context of Kerry's responsibilities.

    So my suggestion, to all current and prospective foreign students that are concerned is simple – If you aren't comfortable here go elsewhere. Apparently the educational options available to you aren't equalt those of found in the US so if your concerns are so great please consider educating yourselves elsewhere. On the other hand if your desire is to to be educated in the US, as you enjoy all of the freedoms this country has to offer, perhaps you should realize that while our country is as advanced as many and more than most, we still have our problems, including insance mad dogs who kill others for no good reason. Odds are that you are already familiar with such situations especially if you come hereto study from the Middle East, Africa, the Baltic nations, Mexico, Central or South America. The primary difference being that our citizens aren't killed by their government due to ethnicity, political affiliation or religious beliefs.

    I don't carry a weapon on my person or in my vehicle, although I do own several. I don't feel threatened in my own country by people that do. I respect the lawful and constitutional rights of others, and I don't try to force others to forgo their rights based on my own personal belief system, like so many gun control advocates do. In my opinion once you take away the constitutional rights of our citizens we are headed down a slippery slope. Our system has worked well for 237 years without revoking the Bill of Rights in part or in whole and I do not support or endorse any movement or act that reults in forfeit, modification, restriction or elimination of the rights granted to every citizen of this country.

    April 15, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Mike

    I know rhetoric is strong right now on gun control and this issue relates to that. Regardless of what side you are on in this debate, the CNN is reporting the truth about foreign students concern for their safety here in the U.S. I have recruited hundreds of international students into our country and the primary concerns are safety, academic quality, campus life. I was surprised safety would be their primary concern, but it is. The reason this is important is because about 700,000 foreign students study here in the U.S. which makes it a multi-billion dollar industry. They pay retail (read out of state) tuition at our colleges and universities. The tuition they pay underwrites domestic scholarships, program and campus expansion and administrative fees. Its easy to say who cares what foreign students think about gun control, because they are not citizens, but if they decide one day to choose Canadian, Australian or U.K., universities as safer alternatives, it will affect every domestic college student in this country and cripple our higher education system which is already reeling from state budget cuts.

    April 15, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Bopper

    We host an exchange student and I cringe almost every morning when the top story is "Who got shot today". School shootings, crazy people at the mall, 4 year old who got hold of a rifle and accidently shot and killed his 6 year old friend...I can see why foreign students would have an issue.

    April 15, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. dike

    Guns dont kill people, people do.... What a joke... so there is a choice lets get rid of people or guns... and NRA says dont get rid of guns... not even track or register them...

    April 15, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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