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. Give mw a break

    The liberals in America today are working overtime. They are working every angle possible to sway the minds of the people to support their Un-American efforts to separate us from our second amendment rights. From the top down they push their propaganda. Obama, Biden, Kerry, Schumer this list is long. Shame on them. They want to fundamentally change America. They need our weapons before they finish us. When the people fear their government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty. These are facts that can not be disputed. FACTS! So go ahead libs, dispute the facts and swallow the propaganda. Are you are trusting a government to tell you the truth? Ha! Good luck with that.

    April 15, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. Chicago

    I suggest Kerry warn these students to stay out of Chicago. Murder Mayor Emanuel has turned it into a war zone. I firmly believe that when the rioting begins for people to get all of their free stuff it will be in Chicago. Democrats have ruined Detroit and next on their list is Chicago. So John...when you complain about this problem maybe you ought to take a look at who is in charge of the problem cities.

    April 15, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. myspaceyourface

    We can't educate the students in our country, why should we give a rat's patutie about students from other countries?

    April 15, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Paul

    FROM THE ARTICLE:

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

    So Kerry's mention that students are afraid of guns (and the resulting CNN "headline") is simply another attempt to promote the anti-gun agenda. CNN, seriously, for the love of Pete at least TRY to give the ILLUSION of objectivity. This is really embarrassing.

    April 15, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. werkerholic

    H1-B workers like it here just fine. Oh yeah, the Japanese also made Korean citizens give up there weapons right before the enslaved them and treated them like dogs. If cops don't like their "unsafe" job then why take it. It's like a soldier going to combat just to complain about the smell of war.

    April 15, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. sfg

    Kerry, like his party, are opposed to the 2nd amendment, and therefore the US Constitution.

    Kerry is an uber rich 1%er, just like his friend Chancellor Bloomberg.

    April 15, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. philpoindexter

    Good, American schools should be for American students.

    April 15, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. history repeats

    No foreign students in our public universities = far fewer research studies by qualified students with top math and science scores = lower accreditation rates = less financial aid for students = less money for university = furloughs and classes cut = a six year bachelors instead of four year = more student loan debt = more unemployment, less ingenuity and start ups, mire bankruptcy.

    April 15, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Nonsense

    Citing a 2008 Japanese crime statistice makes what point? Check out the FBI's online information resources site and look up 2008 summary. The number of NON firearm related homicides in the US was 8 times higher than Japan's. Yep, 4,716 people murdered in the US by something other than a firearm. Maybe the problem is a societal one? No, that can't be it.

    April 15, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Ex-International Student

    Before I came to the United States, I worked for a ngo and would travel to different conflict torn areas. I was never scared. There was always this thing about talking to people. Even if you get kidnapped (which is very rare), they won't kill you right away.
    United States was a horror. People get shot for no reason. The deaths from guns shots surpasses any other forms of deaths through violence if compared with the world. Over 12000 deaths from gunshots a year is insane. Nepal went through a decade of civil war and about 18000 died during that period. And every now and then you hear students being shot at gas station. Yes, for someone from outside it is scary.
    People from a developed nation might find it scary to come to US. It is just like how US perceives the world. A lot of Americans don't travel because they are too paranoid and scared to get out of their cocoon. They take their daily dosage of fear from the media and have a notion of a deadly world. So, it is natural that when people from outside hear about Aurora, columbine, NIU, Sandy Hook, etc. etc. then it is normal that they think that a lot of guys here are psychos and cannot trust with what might come up. Reality might be different, but manufacturing of consent is totally different.

    Apart from this fear, there are also other factors. Tuition cost and lack of better education system in the mid-range universities. Yes, there are some schools that are the best in the world like the Ivy leagues and the kind. However, the mid level universities suck. I was very disappointed at how the program was run in the school that i went to. I never recommended any international student to come study here if they didn't have scholarships or if it wasn't a top ranked school.

    April 15, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. J-Man

    Who cares. Do we really need foreign students? Clearly we don't need any from the Middle East or China. Weren't several of the 9/11 hijackers "students"? Sounds to me like foreign students have killed more Americans than American guns have killed foreign students.

    April 15, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. yogi

    As soon as the word guns is mentioned in an article the righties come out in masses, usually with their dumb comments and complete intolerance. Guns are a sign of absence of civilization, so we have to go a long way in this country.

    April 15, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Hmm

    Less than 1 gun homicide per month. Freedom to walk the streets without fear of of being shot or mugged at gun-point.
    I suppose if my upper middle class neighborhood in Georgia had been in Japan, the teenage lesbian up the street wouldn't have tried to kill herself with her stepfathers gun only to come shreiking out into the street minus one eye while my brother played in the cul-de-sac. A few years later I suppose my next door neighbor's college age son
    wouldn't have shot and killed himself when his gf broke up with him.
    ...but that's the small price we pay for 'freedom' in this country, isn't it?
    Btw, no one wants to confiscate your hunting rifles. I'm just sick of hearing about babies being shot in the face.

    April 15, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Harry

    Minority gang members are the ones running around with guns (and drugs) and yes it is unsafe. The responsible gun owning patriot citizen is not the problem.

    April 15, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. TonyH110

    Sounds like Kerry's been on the sauce again – and not his wife's ketchup

    April 15, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Dave

    Amazing the contradiction in such a short article which says "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".

    Yet, Kerry say it is because of guns and the author includes it for the sound bite used for the article.

    April 15, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Bob H

    Lets see–does that mean that foreign students favor schools in Chicago, where gun control is very strict and violent crime is very high? Foreign students have a choice, as do American students as to where they want to go to school. If they would prefer a college in Cuba, Russia, China, North Korea have at it. Since most US universities preach liberalism/socialism attending schools in communist countries will provide them a good look at the result s of those leanings.

    April 15, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Rene

    Students are more affraid of Kerry's BAD Botox job!

    April 15, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Oregon Native

    We're not Japan and if students don't want to come here that's good. Our schools won't have to turn away so many Americans, and the country they do go to can likely use their business.

    As for guns in America, if you don't like our values then don't come and if you're here and don't like it, then leave.

    April 15, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Mike in SA

    Cool...stay in your own country and get your education. Simple fix.

    April 15, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Jim

    Tell the students not to come!

    April 15, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    didn't stop me from going to school in Arizona...just send them to the south side of Chicago where guns are extremely illegal I'm sure there is no gun violence going on there

    April 15, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. jakestarr

    Kerry says Japanese students are not coming here due to guns but the end of the article attributes the decline to a poor economey and slow birht rate

    April 15, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Nonsense

    @Ken, guns per se are not killing America, but our Liberal/Progressive (Socialist) politicians are doing a pretty good job of trying though.

    April 15, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Sundaisy1951

    Close the borders. The 'foreign students' are simply more $$ for the universities, whose current graduates are working at McDonald's and Burger King. Further, I agree with Chagrined500 – go study in Chicago.

    April 15, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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