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. Gun Owner

    And the problem is?

    April 15, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Drake

    I just knew this statement would bring the Faux News worshippers out from under their rocks.
    Kerry was not a traitor. Actually he was a war hero.
    Much more of one I'm sure than you flag-waving rednecks who probably never served a day of military service. Funny how you didn't mind that W was given an out because of hid dad though.

    April 15, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Karl

    Good go elsewhere. Thats fine with me.

    April 15, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Let the foreign students STAY HOME.

    April 15, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. T-J

    First of all, why would ANYONE care what this self-admitted war criminal has to say, unless they're uber lefties? John Kerry should be tried for war crimes against humanity, for his self-admitted role in murdering women and children. Not in America. Nope. Instead, the liberals make his Sec. of State.

    And personally most Americans don't give a flyin' hoot what foreign students think or are afraid of. Don't like it here? DO NOT COME HERE! It's that simple. As for the UN, they've long-ago worn out their welcome, and the UN building should be toppled into the East River, along with the rest of the garbage floating there.

    April 15, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. elcajondavid

    "Oh Brother." What has happened to our politicians? We elect them not to play with our Amendments, but to protect them. If we lose anymore Second Amendment Rights, then our future as a country is doomed, because "We the People," will no longer exist, it will be led by the richest and most powerful nation.

    April 15, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. mapl88

    At least my neighbor only has a gun and isn't a raving lunatic with a nuke.

    April 15, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Hector Rodriguez

    I have read the comments made by posters from other countries about our gun violence problem. They think our gun violence problem is out of control. They know a killer used the legal guns of his gun owing mother to kill her, 20 first graders and 6 educators using AR-15 Military Style assault rifle. Then they see the reaction of parents grieving for the loss of so many and the reaction of gun owners buying all the AR-15s they can. They think life in the US is fragil due to the gun culture. They are right. More than 30,000 americans are killed each year with guns in the US. That's more Americans killed with guns every two years than all the US soldiers killed with all types of weapons and methods during the entire Vietnam War, which lasted 12 years, We had many others mass hootings in the US and Congres has done nothing to stop it. Shame on them. Shame on us.

    April 15, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Sal Voce`

    That's fine with me...let them STAY HOME!

    April 15, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Unbelievable - but not the way you think

    The odds of being killed by a gun (31,076 deaths) are essentially equal to the odds of being killed in a traffic accident (32,367 deaths)

    The odds of dying in a plane accident - or a college-age student dying from falling down stairs - is MUCH lower than that.

    But why should gun lovers care about facts? All that matters are their "rights."

    April 15, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. jim

    maybe our second rate under funded schools don't look attractive, US must fund internal development before we become third world status

    April 15, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. staticphear

    You have a better chance of dieing from your radioactive shores than a handgun over here.

    April 15, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Bubba

    So he is kissing up to Obama..... what a surprise.... wonderful diplomat.

    April 15, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Hoss

    U.S. new policy...blame guns for everything. You're obese because you own a gun, so don't feel the need to work out. You're broke because you buy guns, not becuse you have no ambition. Your kids are trash because you spent too much time thinking about guns. You're 10 year old car broke because you kept too many guns in it. You smell horrible because you just want to play with your guns rather than take a shower. Your grass is too high because you can't mow it with a gun. You're as dumb as John Kerry because you find a way to blame guns for everything.

    April 15, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Maui Cruiser

    Just reading the story was irritating.

    April 15, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. jsmoulder

    Thanks Kerry this news make me happy, we don't need them over here anyway.

    April 15, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. tuscany590

    Maybe Kerry should be more concerned with the scores of students that come here and overstay their visas & wind up getting welfare, or blow up tall buildings.

    April 15, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Hoss

    U.S. new policy...blame guns for everything. You're obese because you own a gun, so don't feel the need to work out. You're broke because you buy guns, not becuse you have no ambition. Your kids are trash because you spent too much time thinking about guns. You're 10 year old car broke because you kept too many guns in it. You smell horrible because you just want to play with your guns rather than take a shower. Your grass is too high because you can't mow it with a gun. You're as dumb as this guy because you find a way to blame guns for everything.

    April 15, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Dale

    He is a sorry excuse of a man. Let them stay home in their country.

    April 15, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Rohan S

    This is one of the reasons I came to this country as a student 20 years ago. Freedom! Went to school here, graduated started a company, employ 400 people in my town and yes, I own guns. If you are "scared" , stay where you are. You might get killed on the street or by religious violence or by your country's government.

    April 15, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Wow! Kerry nailed it exactly right. For those who think he is politicizing the issue, I am an international student in US and I can tell you, this is a very real concern for many students if not most of them.

    April 15, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. TBsatom

    I say that if the perceived threat of gun violence, scares foreign students from coming to the U.S. then GOOD.

    The U.S. government should be more concerned on how to make higher education more affordable to U.S. CITIZENS NOT FOREIGNERS.

    April 15, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Dennis

    Great, perhaps they will quit coming over here to get the free education, housing books and food.
    I can't see a down side to this.

    April 15, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. James H

    They're afraid of increasing gun violence? I hate to break it to you Sec. Kerry but the FBI says differently.

    Firearm homicides have decreased by over 15% from 2007 to 2011.

    From 2007 to 2008 there was a decrease of 5.9% in firearm homicides. From 2008 to 2009 the decrease was 3.5%. From 2009 to 2010 the decrease was 3.5% and the decrease from 2010 to 2011 was 3.3%. These annual decreases occurred while millions of new gun were sold and conceal carry permits were issue during the same time period. Source: FBI Expanded Homicide Data Table 8.

    April 15, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Jack

    After reading and skimming through these post, I am completely reminded of the "ugly American" concept. We truly are full or ourselves and show a perceived ugliness to the rest of the world.

    April 15, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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