April 15th, 2013
07:48 AM ET
2 years 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. Sandy

    Hey if I were them I would be scared to come here too.

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

    In the US in 2011 11,078 homicides using guns.

    That disparity should make anyone pause about coming here.

    April 15, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. bdby

    This is the first comment for the USA to be on it's way to sign the UN treaty that turns over control of American weapons to the UN. I for one will have none of it.

    If those students can't get over the American gun culture then it is best they don't come here but go to some other country period. I for one am not giving up my second amendment rights.

    April 15, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Stu

    II've worked long periods of time in Canada, UK, Northern Ireland (UK), Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy – and of course the US. Is it really a source of American national pride that our country is so gun-prone compared to other "enlightened" countries? I don't think so. Our collective national morality suffers.

    April 15, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. DaveW

    Perhaps many of us are like frogs in a pot of water. As the problem of gun violence has gradually become worse in our country, we do not see the need for action. Others outside our environment can see our problem quite clearly; they can see that the water around us is hot and we are cooking. Some of us do not even think we have a gun violence problem.

    April 15, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Les

    If it scares them to much, tell them not to come.

    April 15, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. BigJohn2

    Like I'm really worried about those foreign students desiring to come to American. Let them stay home in their own country and go to school. We have Americans that would love to go to college if they could afford it.Sorry – I won't lose any sleep over this issue.

    April 15, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Steve

    Then let them stay home and let our own citizens go to school.

    April 15, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Jim

    Clearly the solution is to just pretend that gun violence doesn't exist.
    If we stop talking about it, it will go way.
    Or, at least, that what gun nutz will tell you.

    April 15, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Why don't you say that their homicide rate in and of itself is much lower, 582. Chicago had 500 homicides in 2012 by itself, with a 11% increase in firarms use, and look at there gun laws. Citing homicide statistics that are 5 years old, wonder what has happened in the last few years.

    Anne, you say it is true, where do you get your knowledge from. And as to having students not show up from other countries being a bad thing, have you looked at the college system lately. In Maryland the applicants from this state trying to get into the state school are refused on-campus housing to make room for outside applicants.

    Guns are not the problem, they are being made the scapegoat of a system that has removed personal responsibility from individuals and made it everyone elses fault when something goes wrong.

    April 15, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Rick

    Why don't you say that their homicide rate in and of itself is much lower, 582. Chicago had 500 homicides in 2012 by itself, with a 11% increase in firarms use, and look at there gun laws. Citing homicide statistics that are 5 years old, wonder what has happened in the last few years.

    Anne, you say it is true, where do you get your knowledge from. And as to having students not show up from other countries being a bad thing, have you looked at the college system lately. In Maryland the applicants from this state trying to get into the state school are refused on-campus housing to make room for outside applicants.

    Guns are not the problem, they are being made the scapegoat of a system that has removed personal responsibility from individuals and made it everyone elses fault when something goes wrong.

    April 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. EE - Spring, TX

    Perhaps if the media actually reported the real statistics instead of taking an agenda then the foreign students wouldn't be afraid. Over half of the gun deaths are suicides. Of the remaining,nearly half of those are related to drugs. In short, if you don't kill yourself and stay away from drug deals then your chances of being involved in gun violence is pretty negligible.

    April 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. JW

    I call bs! The foreign students see more guns in a daqy than they see in a year over here!

    April 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Divdar

    Nice spin. Article even admits that international study is down for Japanese students to all destinations, but Kerry thinks the fear of guns is to blame for the decline in the US. Guess some other fear – spoons, maybe- is causing the decline for the other destinations.

    April 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Scott

    Hard to enjoy freedom and opportunity when you are dead by gunshot wound(s).

    April 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Name

    More political bull crap

    April 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. buck

    If the students don not want to come to this country that is their choice. We as a nation are not required, nor should we feel obligated to change to satisfy people from other countries.

    April 15, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. GO GOP

    Good, get them good fer nothins off my lawn. We can't understand you, go back to your country, white power! IF you have hate in your heart, let out brothers. Wheewy, GOP!

    April 15, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Evelyn in Utah

    Maybe thats a good thing .Free up more spots for American kids or maybe our government thinks Americans are not smart enough.We have to cater to foreigners and illegals .God forbid we put Americans first.

    April 15, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. frank landa

    We do not care if foreign students come to the US. We do not care if illegal aliens come. In fact we want them to leave if they are illegal.

    April 15, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. 111Dave111

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

    In 2009, 66.9% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm.In 2010, there were 19,392 firearm-related suicide deaths, and 11,078 firearm-related homicide deaths in the United States.

    April 15, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. humberto

    What does Kerry know about the Reagan/Bush Administration who mined a foreign country harbor on their own, ILLEGALLY USING USA ASSETS FOR THEIR ILLEGAL WAR IN SOUTH AMERICA, with contempt for Congress

    April 15, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Dude in Colorado

    Greg

    FOX News looks better and better...Fair and Balanced unlike CNN which just keeps pushing an agenda
    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    LOL! That's a good one, ugh, thanks I needed that!!!

    But Seriously, I admit I'm pretty leftist but y'know... I'm scared of the health code standards in India, I'm scared of the laws in Iran, I'm scared of football hoolies in the UK and the water in Mexico. But I don't see any of those countries basing their domestic policies on what I fear.

    April 15, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. Gil

    So we are to change our constitution to encourage more Japanese Students to study in the United States? Heck, I might not be able to afford my kids college due to high prices so I’ll just blame it on guns. I don't own a gun but that's a symptom not a cause. Let’s be real and solve the problem and effects of single parents, violent games, sick movies and shows, incentives not to work, declining moral values and religious values. If you want to focus on surface symptoms then just lock everyone up in their homes and that should solve the problem. I’m discussed with spineless politicians and voters who keep reelecting these people.

    April 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. heaven

    lack of gun control is affecting u.s business and industries, especially creation of small businesses by ambitious americans and new immigrants. it is also costing large businesses / industries because of protecting their investments. it is difficult to advance in business, investments, education and in qualities of public life due to lack of gun control. gun manufacturing and related profits are very marginal compared to other revenues and profits / employments from other entrerprising investments. even military is affected due to lack of gun control. gun debates and gun control are important for american security.john kerry should throw his guns out to make a good example for other public and politicians.. .

    April 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. snowyowl

    A lot of mindless jingoism here today. The reason we need bright foreign students to come study in this country is so some of them will stay and contribute their brain power towards making this a better place. Too many Americans stay stupid and addicted to guns and religion.

    April 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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