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. AmericanGal

    I'm a Democrat, a fan of both Obama and Kerry and even I'm put off by this article. I don't give a rat's hiney about the oft misguided perceptions of life in the U.S. It's almost always distorted and blown out of proportion. There are a lot of tragic incidences due to guns but also from other ways, sadly.

    April 15, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Brian

    They're not coming because of jobs. Additionally, companies are getting cheap and limiting work visas. You don't got to schools in places where you can't get a job.

    I know a number of schools that have also limited enrollment of foreign students because they require more financial aid. Guess what, government budget cuts have limited the amount of financial aid available. They also don't want to accept students that are less likely to get a job after graduation.

    April 15, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. tc

    You want background checks Mr President? OK, LET'S START WITH YOURS!!!!

    April 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Rational voice

    So kerry now says to ban guns because students from othet countries who get into american colleges that american stidents dont get into then earn phds then return home where an american job is now sent to for the lower wages are now less likely to come to the usa because of gun rights?

    April 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Joeblow

    Who cares what foreign students think? I don't.

    April 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. JohnParryJones

    Then let the foreigners stay home. Moronic words from Kerry. Leaves me speechless.

    April 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Anonymous

    This is a problem because...?? The costs are astronomically high–couldn't be an issue could it? We already have 30 million illegal aliens here – we need more? The vast majority of the 9/11 murderers were here on student visas... There are not enough openings in great universities for our children as it is. If they want to apply that is great, but we really don't need to seek them out.

    April 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. itissaid

    "A large percentage of college shooters are immigrant students with "culture acclimation" issues. FACT"

    ONE was an immigrant who came at an early age to America. The rest are white Americans. FACT.

    April 15, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Thywordistruth

    America Love it or Leave is equivalent to saying "My Mother Drunk or Sober".

    April 15, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. John Stanley

    This doesn't surprise me. I have a friend from London who just became a US citizen who nearly didn't come to the US 20 years ago because of the number of guns in the country. At the end of the day, these guns aren't going anywhere and more restrictive gun laws aren't going to stop criminals from getting their hands on whatever they need to commit their crime. The 2nd ammendment created this mess. A mess I am fine with. It's a double-edged sword and we as a country need to accept it.

    April 15, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. steve

    If you don't like something in thje usa, THEN DON"T COME HERE stay where you are and let your country take care of you.

    April 15, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. dd

    I am sure the students from Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya all fear guns- what a joke. Without guns the people of these countries could revolt against leaders who took away personal freedoms. Mubarak, Morsi, Assad, Gadaffi, Obama – oops, Obama has been ousted yet.

    April 15, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. peacekeeper

    Hard to argue with just 11 gun-related homicides for the entire country. Probably get that in a week in some big cities in the USA..

    April 15, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. 5greatkids

    hmmm... most of the 9/11 murderers were here on student visas. The S. Korean campus murderer was here on a student visa. Having fewer foreign students is a problem because..???

    April 15, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Mike

    Tell them to stay in their own country then. I get sick of foreigners talkin about guns like they have a call in it like Pierce Morgan. I use to watch some of the stuff he done until the gun issue he thinks since he's from England it's his right to to debate it. Go back to England you wanker if you like Englands laws Pierce.

    April 15, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Taco Ninja

    I'm sorry, are we supposed to care about foreign people visiting our country? This is the Land of the Free, not Disneyland... If they want to come where they can enjoy freedom and opportunity, go for it. If they feel scared to have that much freedom...too bad...go elsewhere. I'm not laying down my freedoms just so someone can come here and get their education paid for by my tax dollars. If you feel unsafe in this country, then get a permit and carry a gun. I carry one everywhere I go...

    April 15, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Constantine16621990

    This lobby is full of it!!! Just full of it!! You all bring tears to my eyes because all of your comments are either racist, or just plain false:.( no wonder none of you are on the decent articles. Theres so much input that you dont want everyone ganging up on you for your lame comments:/ wow, just wow:/

    April 15, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. DanP

    Liberals with an ignorance toward firearms scare people who have intelligence.

    April 15, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Polar Bear

    So? Their socialism scares me. A gun can kill a human but socialism can kill a nation.

    April 15, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Donna

    Well I feel sooo much better knowing the Democrats are more worried with the opinions of FOREIGN STUDENTS than in the opinions of millions of law abiding gun owning CITIZENS in this country.

    WAKE UP AMERICA!!! Democrats and liberals are a FATAL DISEASE. Fatal to our country and Constitution.

    April 15, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Brad

    Fact: Whole 3rd world wants to be in US. Guns or no guns, if you issue visas, Every Chinese, Indian, African would study in US. So let's not really worry about university revenue.

    April 15, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. 5greatkids

    hmmm... most of the killers from 9/11 were here on student visas. Having fewer foreign students is a problem because...?

    April 15, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Bill

    Those of you who don't think we should care if international students want to come to the U.S. to study are apparently unaware of the fact that U.S. higher education is one of our only remaining American "products" that is still highly respected around the world and highly competitive in the global marketplace. When people around the world no longer dream of spending their life savings to send their children to study in the U.S., we're not going to have much left to offer.

    April 15, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. bs1

    They are scared of the false media claims of rampant 'gun violence". The reality is that like pretty much any country, there are a handful of unsafe gang and crime infested areas that you need to avoid, while the remaining 95% of the country if very, very safe. It is a particularly sad fact that those gang crime hotbeds are the very same places where the government seeks to have a disarmed and defenseless public.

    April 15, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Mike

    We're not going to change for foreigners either. We're not Europe as bad and the liberal, illuminati, left wants us to be.

    April 15, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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