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. Nice...

    One might be suspicious of the thesis of this story; it's undermined by the story itself:

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

    Foreign study is down to all destinations, but study in the US is down because of guns? That's a stretch.

    April 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. BBMad

    Kerry bases this opinion on what? Anecdotal evidence at best. How many prospective students has he talked to lately. Sounds like a buch of liberal party propaganda.

    April 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Name matt

    Notice they talk of a nation such as Japan and not any of the middle east nations? This story is so fishy you could put a hook in it.

    April 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Meiewe

    Read the last two paragraphs of the story. Japanese are not going abroad to all other countries too. The reasons cited are the economy and wanting to stay close to relatives. Gun violence is not cited.

    April 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Rik

    Really, who cares? Could it be our education system isn't what it used to be? Less foriegners is a bad thing? If we are so offensive to them let them stay at home or send them to school at the University of Bagdad. Kerry has the political clout of a homeless guy at a home owners association meeting.

    April 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. John

    Did you know its been confirmed that CNN emplys active duty army psychological warfare soldiers? Look it up!!

    April 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Pro

    A) What a crock. B) Who cares? His job is diplomacy, not agenda. Stick to your job, Secretary.

    April 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. T. Lee

    Foreign students are "afraid of US guns"?

    O.K. – than how about doing more with US young people from grade-school up (like also re-instilling pride in their nation from again teaching Civics, Government, MATH, and SCIENCE to prepare THEM for college and increasing the pool of those educated to take their place in our society instead of the third shift at Burger King or McDonalds because they either dropped out of school – or – were so badly taught by our pre-college "public school system" they aren't "college material" !!

    April 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. John

    Operation Northwood, look it up!!!

    April 15, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. janice

    Ha ha, they are all here in Canada!!! so many foreign students, the local folks complain that their kids cannot even get into the Universities or colleges here. Your love of guns use is scary and confusing. My family used to come and visit often from Canada, We do not anymore choosing to go somewhere less violent and stressful. In fact we no longer watch American movies or Television, so much of if is centered around violence ( in all it's forms), it's boring, sad and appears so unintelligent!! You can do better America.

    April 15, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Immigrant now Greencard holder

    This is nonsense and as usual politicans live in cuckoo land far removed from reality. It's simple – the US is tightening visa restrictions on foreign students that complete their studies in the US from settling down. They restrict the application of H1-B visas which allow them to work and apply for a green card. Whether this is good or bad is a different topic. But this simply is the explanation. Back in the old days, you could study in the US and apply for an H1-B visa if you were employed by a company that sponsered you. Subsequently, you could apply for a greencard and payback all your loans and settle in the US. Now immigration is restricting students who studied in US universities from applying for H1-B visas and these students are forced to return back to their home countries with gigantic loans where their put their parent's houses on the line. Therefore many foreign students are applying in countries like Austrailia, New Zealand and Canada which are far more welcoming towards legal immigration.

    Ofcourse, illegal immigrants have no problem. Our leader wants to make sure that every illegal immigrant is left behind here in the US so that they become faithful citizens and keep voting for his party.

    April 15, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Peter Grenader

    mydogsyas: It's amazing to me what the ideal should be for this country varies from person to person. For instance, for 90% of us, we realize there is a major problem with our guns laws which put us at unnecessary risk, and then there are id iots like mydogsays, the selfish gun owners out there that really feel it's all about you, that the majority doesn't count and that if we don't like it we can leave YOUR county.

    Mr, Dog: If you're gonna speak of conflict of interests here, do NOT even try without mentioning that the head of the GOPs largest Superpac's, Karl Rowe is EMPLOYEED BY FOX NEWS as a commentator.

    Further, when I see this story on Amber Lyons run on other media outlets other than those completely owned by the GOP, I will believe it. So far, not. She's been fired twice by two different news agencies and is largely known as a BS artist. Nice try though.

    April 15, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Dave

    Japan is under a police state. End of discussion.

    April 15, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Ancient Texan

    heaven- Interesting statements....but data to back up those claims? Extremely doubtful.

    April 15, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. HarvTy

    Are we suppose to care? Our country reflects our principles and freedoms. You don't like it, go somewhere else.

    April 15, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Peter Grenader

    mydogsyas: It's amazing to me what the ideal should be for this country varies from person to person. For instance, for 90% of us, we realize there is a major problem with our guns laws which put us at unnecessary risk, and then there are people like mydogsays, the selfish gun owners out there that really feel it's all about you, that the majority doesn't count and that if we don't like it we can leave YOUR county.

    Mr, Dog: If you're gonna speak of conflict of interests here, do NOT even try without mentioning that the head of the GOPs largest Superpac's, Karl Rowe is EMPLOYEED BY FOX NEWS as a commentator.

    Further, when I see this story on Amber Lyons run on other media outlets other than those completely owned by the GOP, I will believe it. So far, not. She's been fired twice by two different news agencies and is largely known as a BS artist. Nice try though.

    April 15, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Ryan

    So Secretary of State Kerry is in another country, relaying the concerns of foreign students and automatically he's now "anti-gun", the story is "BS", and the cares is foreign students are deemed irrelevant. A) He's the nations top foreign diplomat. Relaying and divulging foreign sentiments is part of his job and he's generally the person who foreign diplomats would share this sort of thing with. B) We actually DO want foreign knowledge coming into our academic institutions. This may be hard for isolationists to understand, but there are lot's of bright individuals in this world - not all of whicg are in the US. The more of them that come here and exchange their knowledge with us, the better off we are.

    April 15, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Meki60

    so he is saying that this is an effective immigration control.

    April 15, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Smarterthantheaveragebear

    So, certainly, we must change so that we can be more like Japan! Of course!! Oh, please!! This is pathetic, people! Get real.

    April 15, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. brivision

    When I visit other countries, they don't change the way they live for me. If they don't like the way we live, don't visit or come to school here.

    April 15, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Drew

    Oh no! What ever will we do if foreigners stop coming here for school?

    April 15, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Greenspam

    Today NRA says the solution is to let anyone, residents or foreigners alike, to have access to guns.

    April 15, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Carl

    My thoughts exactly Brian P. Lower demand may lower tuition/education cost.

    April 15, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Paul

    What a load of horse doo doo!! He's about as worthless as Clinton, Pelosi, Bloomberg and the rest of the American rights killers.

    April 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Smarterthantheaveragebear

    Bwahahaha! Well, then, we MUST become more like the Japanese, so that they will feel comfortable coming here to the UN-USSA!

    April 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44