April 15th, 2013
07:48 AM ET
12 months 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. Bob

    Who cares! We don't need them here anyway. Its hard enough for students that actually live in the US to get into some schools as it is.

    April 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Disgusted American

    The majority of the comments here are sickening. To all of you who think people from other countries should be excluded from the U.S. and "we don't need no foreigners in the land of the free," who the heck do you think your parents or grandparents were? This country was built by foreigners. And as the U.S. becomes a technology driven economy and the "true Americans" have become fat and lazy, gorging on a diet of McDonald's and realty TV, who do you think is dominating in science and math, and the world of technology companies and start ups? Smart, hardworking people from China, India, Korea and Taiwan. All of you that express a closed-borders, racist, intolerant mindset are going to become irrelevant in tomorrow's America. You can all take your guns, hatred, and intolerance and shove them, because you don't matter today and are going to matter even less tomorrow.

    April 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Paulmsn

    Paratrooper_us - yet it is the right that believes the US is going to hell in a handbasket. Most liberals are optimistic about our future while most conservatives are not.

    April 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. lagarto

    Instead of saying that foreign students are afraid of "guns", it would be more accurate to say that they are afraid of violent crime that is disproportionately committed by a certain 12% of our population.

    April 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. wild man

    hey beverly driving is a not a right protected by an amendment owning a firearm is a right protected by the constitution, That's why you take a drivers test and more people are killed in auto accidents than with firearms every year. and if you study history and read our constitution you will find the founding fathers intended us to have firearms to protect our self from a tyrannical government you know a government that lies to it's citizens while stealing their tax dollars kinda like What's going on now wake up

    April 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. EqOffender

    It is illegal for law abiding citizens to own guns in Mexico and the Philippines – they don't have a problem with terrorism by firearm do they? We definitely should follow their lead – right to our graves.

    April 15, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. FactsInstead

    Meanwhile ignoring the fact that gun crime and gun murders are less than half of what they were in the 90's and continue to decline. Media hype is what has them scared not actual facts.

    April 15, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Cheerios

    I have taken foreign students to the range and given them safety courses on firearms. They've all enjoyed it and some have even returned to do it again. The article is just more typical CNN trash that no one else would publish.

    April 15, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. head unit

    Foreign students would have a better understanding of potential gun threats in the U.S. if our country's media outlets and politicians were honest about actual gun crime in the the U.S.

    But they are not. With the exception of background checks, the current crop of proposed legislation and political grandstanding attacks law-abiding gun owners, and shamefully does not address the true source of over 90% of gun crime in America. Our politicians are incompetent and despicable, demonstrating they don't have any real interest in facing gun crime.

    No wonder foreign students are confused. (Though, only a fool would believe what Kerry is saying in this regard, anyway.)

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

    Oh boo hoo. Don't come then.

    April 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. reader10

    Foreign students are not scared of guns.
    They are scared of crazy proffesors who are preaching hates.
    Proffesors who are once convicted of crimes.

    April 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Phil

    Nothing like insulting peopl with religious beliefs and a belief in their second amendment rights.

    I mean they have to be "stupid" since they differ thought wise from you, right?

    Keep up the great work Snowyowl....

    Got to agree with other comments. ..Afraid to come here, don't come. Very simple.

    April 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. cvernon

    "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."

    This is an exerpt from the article buried down in the bottom of the article... This is the main reasons why students are not coming to America, ir ANY country, from Japan to study. The way the article is written is trying to drive a political agenda... Guns are bad!!! Guns are the reason!!! is stated in the Headline and first several paragraphs. At the bottom (after already shaping the mind of the reader) the article mentions the decline across the board.

    April 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Gary

    Another not so obvious benefit of the 2nd amendment. Preventing our knowledge and expertise from being exported to our competitors.

    April 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Kimber

    Kerry knows gun violence. He probably shot himself in order to get a Purple Heart medal.

    April 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. John

    And who's fault is that? How about CNN, who harps on Sandy Hook and firearms ad nauseam?

    April 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. standing4US

    I going to give up my guns and believe we should follow Japan's example. Nottttttttttt!!!!! Sorry my USA, Patriot pride intervened. Second Amendment is here to stay! They arent going to attack the 2nd at once though , it will be, bit by bit. Through regulation and media is there strategy.

    April 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. cvernon

    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.

    This is buried at the bottom of the article... After the articel promotes it's agenda-it tells you the real reason.

    April 15, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Jack

    Kerry is afraid of his own underwear, and with good reason.

    April 15, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. silly democrats

    Lol, scared of guns? Must be the reason box cutters and airplanes are the weapons of choice!

    April 15, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. TxLegionrX

    Heaven, where in the hell do you get your information. We were the most industrous country in the world in the 20th century, and our gun rights were in place.

    The difference between an American and a Socialist ie liberal. Americans will defends themselves. Liberals need someone to do it for them

    April 15, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Joel Johnston

    More seats for US students. I don't see this as a bad thing, other than our colleges love foreighn students because they pay for their college tuition.

    April 15, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. John

    The government was planned mass shootings during the Kennedy administration to in an attempt to bring us to war with Cuba. They were called the Northwood documents or Operation Northwood. Look it up!!!

    April 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. mogran

    Why would I believe ANYTHING

    April 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Oh

    ah yes, the gun nuts have this country regressing....the only winner here is the gun manufacturers....

    way to go gun nuts....nothing like being the stooges.....

    April 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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