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. Unbelievable

    Hello students of Japan, You have a better chance of being killed on the plane ride over than by a gun. You have a better chance of being killed in a traffic accident than by a gun. You have a better chance of falling down the dorm steps to your death, than by getting shot. I think you only have a better chance of being shot than you do running into Godzilla.

    April 15, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. SeeThruIt2

    Near the end of the article it says "Figures have shown international study is down markedly among Japanese students to all destinations,...."

    So, Kerry is just making this up. Gun violence in the U.S. has nothing to do with it.

    April 15, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. taurran

    I'm glad this traitorous fool is willing to sacrifice our Constitutional rights for the illogical and irrational fears of some non-US citizen who really has no say in the matter.

    April 15, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Patriot

    We're scaring them? Our govt is so concerned because it slows the size of hoards coming to our nation to work and school.

    April 15, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. taurran

    I'm glad this traitorous ignoramus is willing to sacrifice our Constitutional rights for the illogical and irrational fears of some non-US citizen who really has no say in the matter.

    April 15, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Will

    What's supremely stupid about this is that violent crime in the US–including violent crimes committed with guns–are at historic lows. For al the media frenzy about "gun violence" and constantly asking "What is America going to do about this problem?" the answer is that there really isn't a problem. Violent crime in the US peaked in 1991 and has been on a steady decline ever since. We have isolated areas where violence is booming–like Chicago–but overall, we haven't been this quiet, peaceful and safe in decades. If foreign students are afraid of the US because of crime, it's a testament to all the hype coming out of the media; it's not in the data.

    April 15, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. Peace

    Remember who said this: "they are clinging to their guns". The man was right and has a very sharp vision. He saw it before anyone else. Everything proves so according to the comments I have read here.

    April 15, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Craig

    Majority of Americans can't afford school and I also was recruited from an American school who was targeting Canadians to attend their school for a hefty price. So yes America has way to many schools and they got to fill in seats from abroad and international students pay more of a tuition than Americans do. The schools turn around and spend it recklessly on unnecessary purchases to keep the American dream still rolling.

    April 15, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. carlos

    Don't like it here in the US? Stay away.

    Funny thing is that violence and crime in the US are way down over the last 10-20 years. Its just that the left wing media sensationalizes stories to help promote their nanny state agenda. Check the FBI Crime stats.

    April 15, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Dutch

    When I was checking into programs at a university in my area, back in 1996, I was told that I should not wear my flight jacket with various patches on it because it could "offend the foreign students." Needless to say, I was offended and did not attend that college.

    April 15, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. theseconddavid

    "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." – When do we get to the downside?

    April 15, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    If they don't like it, they don't have to go to school here...after having been to many countries through my service years, I can tell you THEIR countries are generally far more dangerous than anything they might encounter here...who cares what foreign students think of the US? It's OUR country

    April 15, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. alan

    Kerry, you have the intelligence of spackle. Please just go back to watching the view and leave the decision making to the grownups.

    April 15, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Cinman

    OK for them to stay away? OK to really cripple our growth then as studies have continually showed nearly half of the significant patent inventions have been by not-born here (came to school here and stayed). They also created 60% of Silicone Valley. This is a big impact on job creation and growth. But go ahead and keep denying and living in your pretend world...

    April 15, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Tallulah

    He is such a fool. His comments are irresponsible, especially since he is a diplomat (using the term loosely). Worst SoS we have had in a long time.

    April 15, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. windrider2

    Evelyn in Utah wrote: 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.
    ------------------
    No, Evelyn, there are plenty of spots for American kids; they just happen to be very expensive slots. Far too many colleges are dependent upon foreign students who pay a premium price for everything from tuition to housing. Foreign students do not graduate carrying a mortgage-sized debt in student loans. Unlike the governments of many other countries, our government doesn't pay for college education. While the rest of the world is producing an educated workforce that can dance circles around ours at half the cost, we are cutting funding for education and either importing the workforce or exporting the jobs. While American graduates went jobless and homeless (or moved back Home) in the Great Recession, American owned businesses were confiscating lives, careers, futures, and families using imported labor and outsourced "services". Our government fosters this practice while taxpayers underwrite its cost.

    So yeah, Evelyn, the fact that fewer foreign students are interested in studying in the US will open up some very expensive slots which most American kids can't afford to take. Like everything else in America, the future is for sale to the highest bidder.

    April 15, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. jhawk3

    Colleges are gun free zones, no one can get shot there.

    April 15, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Abbot

    I came to this country because of the freedoms of the citizen to bear arms.

    April 15, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. Rdon49

    Simple – stay home

    April 15, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Two Stray Dogs

    You mean they're afraid of gang violence. Because that's where the vast majority of the "gun violence" comes from. And it'll be wallpaper on our society long after we strip the average Joe of his or her guns. Gun bans do NOT ban the guns those criminals use. It simply disarms the law-abiding citizenry.

    April 15, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Gallo

    Good!! Don't need them here anyway. Stop issuing so many damn H1B visa's and let American get the jobs here.

    April 15, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. just sayin

    go to cuba instead. problem solved.

    April 15, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. David

    Perhaps they're hesitant to train in the US because we have made it near impossible for foreigners to immigrate into this country. Regardless of how well trained and educated they are.

    April 15, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Bilbo

    Have them come to the US...Hawaii first...they can study the memorial at Pearl Harbor.

    April 15, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Caramon

    There are several issues with this article. Parents said one reason is students are scared. What is it that scares them? Did these parents even mention guns or was this assumed?

    April 15, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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