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. Conrad Shull

    So, let them study someplace else.

    April 15, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Darwin

    Evidently, the irrational fear-mongering campaign of the anti-gun-rights special interests in the US is beginning to resonate abroad.

    April 15, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. indianriver

    Really...???

    Gun-violence is STILL dropping as a whole. The problem now is media sensationalism. THAT is the correct thing to blame for "fear".

    April 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. ZhenBang

    Really??? So in other countries where the rapes and violent crimes are higher are fine, but in one of the safest countries on the planet where you have a 514147/1 chance of dying from gun violence is too scary? I didn't realize there were a bunch of ignorant pansies living on the planet.

    April 15, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. Kaneohe357

    I don't believe Kerry on this issue for one second. Pure political posturing. I travel to my organization's office in Tokyo once a quarter, if anything, the Japanese have an appreciation and fondness for firearms. There are many stores in Tokyo that specialize in replica firearms (airsoft) because there is a high demand and fascination with weapons in Japan. Many of my Japanese colleagues take vacations to Guam so they can fire real weapons. Jerry is fear mongering again.

    April 15, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. Jeff F

    Wow! How about terrible journalism. The real reason for the decline is buried at the bottom of the story.

    "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 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Green Oak

    Doing Obama's bidding. Say anything no matter how ridiculous in order to force gun control on Americans. This clown was never worth anything and he hasn't changed a bit.

    April 15, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. Hector Rodriguez

    Guns are a nuisance to our society. We have more than 30,000 gun related deaths per year. I understand why they do not want to send their kids to the US. We are a gun nut nation. Guns are going to destroy our reputation around the world.

    April 15, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. kirkintexas

    Who cares?

    April 15, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. who cares

    WHo cares. Keep foreign students out of America!

    April 15, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. sean

    Wow. Democrats and CNN really are scraping for anything anti gun.

    April 15, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. Dan

    Sure, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that our education system is far behind many other countries.

    April 15, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. AL

    Kerry blames it to guns, CNN says an international study shows the reasons are for those other then guns. I don't know the study, but I'd take that over a politicians words unless he/she shows an international study contradicting it. I would imagine, though, if Japan media works like US media that the US may be portrayed as a war zone (ala Mad Max style). That might scare some folks.

    April 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. twotwotango

    Funny how this left wing agenda excuse isn't keeping teaming hoards of Indians and Chinese from invading our schools, taking h1-b visa jobs that lower tech wages, spying, and in general destroying our technological edge.

    April 15, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Greg

    Wow, what a pointless article. Could it be that the US MSM is hyping this issue out the roof both to secure ratings and to drive their agenda? The bad impression that most foreigners have of the US comes from the impossibly warped garbage that our media pumps out by the ton. And with regards to gun ownership in Japan, it's not at all impossible to own a firearm, thousands of guns are in private hands for hunting and sport shooting. And handguns are readily available through the black market, and Japanese organized crime traffics extensively in weapons. It might be worth noting that even though only 11 murders are attributed firearms, it is a tiny fraction of total murders, once again proving that you don't need a gun to kill, only intent. Finally, what a shame that more foreign students don't want to come here, considering that the 9/11 hijackers were all students here, and only 19 of them killed more than 3,000 people in one morning. Maybe restricting foreign students would save more lives than restricting guns.

    April 15, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. zack

    Let them be. Shouldn't be here anyways

    April 15, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. GenPatton

    That's ok, it scares the heck out of me you made it to Sec of State.

    April 15, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. kar

    Well US students are worried about getting bombed or abducted in other countries so we are even. What's your point Kerry, Global Warming??? How do these people get in office, never mind.

    April 15, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Anonymous

    People fear what they don't understand. If you weren't raised around big dogs, one would fear a large dog barking or worse, attempt to agitate the dog, not knowing what it is capable of. If you were raised around big dogs, you understand that they aren't necessarily dangerous, but they require respect and knowledge.

    And much like guns, the owner should get the blame when an incident occurs.

    on a somewhat related note, who here is tired of a bunch of foreigners effecting our government? They should have no say in anything. They aren't from here, can't buy a gun, take the place of local students, can't vote, and our politicians are pandering to them for agenda gains!

    April 15, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. i12bphil

    Good.

    April 15, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. JC in KC

    It can't be that bad. I mean look at all the Mexican's coming into the USA. Not only are they foreigners, they can have a job, a drivers license and health insurance and a free education.

    Geez, Mr. Kerry your thinking is flawed.

    April 15, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Sara56

    Hey, as long as you are bringing up Japan, wouldn't the fact that they have no welfare system there contribute to their homicide rate? And 11 gun deaths in a country where they are outlawed? How did that happen? In Japan, you don't work, you don't eat. Works beautifully.

    April 15, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Dumbo

    What? That's just silly. Japan has one of the lowest murder rates in the world, why would they be afraid of a place with a higher murder rate than Afganistan? We all know how safe Afganistan is, so what the big deal? Especially when we are so vocal about making sure that we have guns in our homes so that we can shoot anyone we don't like. I just don't get why anyone would be afraid. Now, get off my lawn, I'm a Merican.

    April 15, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. j_lebowski

    This report comes from a known traitor and enemy to the United States. In other words....a democrat.

    April 15, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Jamie

    Does he mean American primary school students are no longer afraid of guns? Why? As a result of Sandy Hook?

    April 15, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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