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. well

    what's even scarier than the guns are the empty heads that direct the guns.

    April 15, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Ed

    When are these elected officials going to understand that they are there to repersent the public, NOT THEMSELVES. They are all bought and PAID FOR before they ever take office!!! Elected offices should pull their heads out for air and repersent the people /legal population of the United States.

    April 15, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. dbdy

    Not to change the subject but it was announced in New York that there was a "Double Murder Suicide by Cop".

    Feinstein, what happened? Why didn't your laws work?

    April 15, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. wrm

    Must not be math and science students. Anyone who spends more than a few minutes researching crime rates as a function of location (esp w.r.t. universities) would see that the risk is relatively low in most all locations; relative to all the other risks in life in general. If the poets are scared, fine, stay where you are.

    April 15, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. cinnreds

    just let them keep talking realclearpolitics is showing a 9 point "love loss" for Dems since December :)

    Let them keep talking so we can assure our win in 2014

    April 15, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. James

    Another non-story. It's human nature to react strongly to dangers that statistically are very rare, while ignoring those that occur regularly. It's the same reason people fear shark attacks which happen to a statistically insignificant number of people, while thinking nothing of getting into a car, which kill hundreds of people every single day.

    April 15, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. theRealBMAC

    I don't understand this.......
    Our schools are all gun free zones....

    April 15, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Robert

    I'm sure there are some foreign students who are uncomfortable about some of the ways our free speech is expressed, too. If you're not used to freedom, sorry.

    April 15, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. abdulthebutcher

    It's not the guns they are afraid of, it the thug culture they don't like.

    April 15, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. 2012liberal

    And that is the exact reason why i hope my college age children go to another country and get 2 stay there. I am more and more disappointed n our country b cuz of gop rule n our country. If another country would take me, australia germany switzerkand, I WOULD GO!

    April 15, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Juxtapoz

    "Good riddance!" "We don't want no furriners here!" "I'm not giving up my gun!" <-- Typical conservative responses to this article. These right wingnuts said the same thing as more and more people gave up on the GOP here in the USA. Then when the GOP loses election after election, they have the nerve to stand around blaming their problems on some imaginary left-wing media conspiracy, instead of acknowledging that they've NEVER cared about anything other than their own narrow-minded ideology, and refuse to accept that they can either have their narrow-mindedness or they can win elections, but they can't do both.

    One set of numbers after another shows this country in decline, just as they showed a decline in the popularity of the TP and GOP while the righties declared they'd win the White House "by a landslide". When even a few of them finally realized they've got a problem, we got Marco Rubio gulping water on tv. They didn't listen about the Bush tax cuts, and then didn't want to pay for the debt those cuts created. They didn't want to listen about Wall Street, and then didn't want to listen to anyone BUT Wall St. They didn't listen about Iraq(nor did they want to pay for it), and we all saw how THAT turned out.

    So the question is, if you're NOT one of these right wing clowns, how LONG are you going to let these chimps drag YOU down with their race to the bottom?

    April 15, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. K from AZ

    OK, then get out and don't come back!

    April 15, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. head unit

    Kerry has always been a lightweight. Some people seem to like his soothing mortician's voice. But to believe the words that come out of it?

    April 15, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Won

    As the Grump Cat said, "GOOD."

    April 15, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Robert

    The daily news about people being shot in the US is starting to affect vacationers as well. I don't believe it will prevent people from going to the US but Canadians are starting to look at Gun Laws by state before they make a final decision on destination.

    April 15, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Ken

    I would recommend studying in Iraq or Afghanistan, Pakistan or India (where you won't get shot but may be gang-raped.

    April 15, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Bill in VA

    Who cares? Let them stay home if they don't like it. If they were "students" you would like to think they are smart enough to know they are far more likely to get killed in a car accident than by a gun.

    April 15, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. JR

    Funny... I knew quite a few foreign students in college(French, British, Korean, Indian) and the majority were genuinely excited to have the opportunity to learn how to shoot rifles and especially pistols while studying in the US.

    The shooting club at my school seemed to attract just as many foreign students as local.

    April 15, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Steve Lyons

    That means the 2nd Amendment is doing what it was meant to do. Keeping foreign hostiles at bay.

    April 15, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. NorCalMojo

    Smells like desperation to me. That's pretty funny.

    April 15, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Abbey

    Who can forget this Kerry quote:

    American soldiers [are] going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the ñ of ñ the historical customs, religious customs." –John Kerry in 2005

    April 15, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. scranton

    We have had guns in this country for over 200 years. It is the moral and cultural decay that worries the foreigners not the guns. There has always been guns here.

    April 15, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. dennis

    This is the dumbest comment I've heard! .... Unbelievable!

    April 15, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. makessense

    Good...stay at home

    April 15, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. tony

    I don't think there is a 5 year old anywhere in the world, who, if finding a gun, without an adult around, won't try pulling the trigger to see what happens. No matter what he/she has been taught.

    April 15, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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