April 15th, 2013
07:48 AM ET
2 years 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. Alina77

    US is infested with guns. The watchdogs were pushed away by NRA... NRA turned second amendment into a bazooka producing money machine...That's not what our founding father had in mind.

    April 15, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Hector Rodriguez

    Wiibeararms...we do not have to "suspend" the Constitution but we have to HEAVILY regulate guns. Guns are becoming an EMBARRASSING problem. We are the Wild West Country of the world where kids are killed in their first grade classroom with a military style assault weapon and instead of banning that type of killing machine used to kill so many first graders the NRA members rushed to the gun stores to buy them by the dozens. Gun nuts like that are at the root of our gun problem.

    April 15, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Keith in Massachusetts

    "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."

    So how did guns get into the picture? This is just more of CNNs liberal reporting.

    April 15, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Then maybe the reason they are afraid is that they know if they try to commit a crime, they will be shot.

    April 15, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. Caspian

    Statistics don't support Kerry's assertion. Homicides have dropped by half since the 80's when more and more states started allowing concealed weapons bringing down the numbers to less than 4K a year as of 2012.

    April 15, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Mac

    To all those spin spin spinning this into NRA backed nonsense. Compared gun fatality rates in US vs all other CIVILIZED NATIONS.

    April 15, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Mountainsboyca

    Considering foreigners cannot own guns in the US, they are defenseless. Just like Canadian snowbirds in Florida... We know how that works out.
    It's no wonder the US is dropping from favor and why the people are not wanton to live the American dream....

    April 15, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Bill in SC

    Kerry does tell almost convincing lies. It's pure BS and he knows it. He's simply pushing the anti-gun brigade's agenda. And even if he isn't, if the Japanese are so scared, let them study somewhere else.........like JAPAN.

    April 15, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. GunNonsense

    Gun ownership should be a "privilege" not a "right". The 2nd Amendment needs amending again. Just like driving a car with a driver's license. Guns owners should be trained, registered, insured and held responsible (lot's of big business here). Good gun people will do the right thing. Bad gun people will break the law (just like they do in cars). Also, like cars and cell phones, we should use more smart technology in guns. Over time our society can adjust. Just saying....

    April 15, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. DAN

    who cares they can stay home then. Why should we care? We dont need them. they dont understand our culture and what we have to do to prevent or government from rolling over and taking the rights from its citizens. They let it happen to them. We are not going to let go of our right with out a fight. The second amendment was written for a reason. We sent one terioney packing and we will do it again foregn or domestic government.

    April 15, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Donna

    Good! How many of them have overstayed their visas and are here illegally? Let them go study in India since it is soooo much nicer over there! hahahaha....

    April 15, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. JOHN

    Is that the best Kerry can come up with for an anti-gun statement? As the article points out the drop in students from Japan is not because they are afraid of violence. My wife and daughter are in college with MANY international students and none of them have concerns about firearms. In fact many are enjoying having the freedom of taking shooting lessons. What does scare them is drivers here and the traffic!

    The thing that they mention the most is how lazy U.S. students are and how little they know. It's really sad when a foreign student knows more than we do about our own country. The foreign students also work a lot harder in school of course they are paying big bucks to be here while Americans pay much less to go to University. No wonder studies show Americans to be way down the list when it comes to education in the world. We're producing classes of McDonalds clerks.

    April 15, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. jod

    Good. The sensationalist gun-fearing media has accomplished something positive in spite of their best attempts. They've opened up more coveted seats for qualifying American students, who would normally be at a disadvantage when applying against a "minority" applicant

    April 15, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. David

    Who cares what the other countries think.... They don't need to come here.

    April 15, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Texhimself

    So, the irrational fear mongering of the hard political right is scaring people abroad as it does domestically. We are a country of gun violence. Period. Fact. And this affects everything we do as Americans.

    April 15, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. John

    Too bad the 2000+ illegal aliens crossing the border every single day are not thinking the same...

    April 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. DaveinCincy

    I think they're not coming because they fear our national debt and they'll be forced to unionize.
    Hey CNN...next time Obama sends you something to publish...you may want to fact check it 1st.

    April 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. The_dude

    No thanks Kerry. Go be a traitor somewhere else....

    April 15, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. dotheflippin'math

    11 gun deaths in one year in Japan. I think we have at least that many every single day. The more guns, the more deaths. You'd have to be an idiot not to see that correlation. Look at all the kids getting killed. Ironically, the same fools defending unrestricted gun ownership are the same ones trying to make abortion illegal. Seems they could care less about you once you're born. If you just bought a gun, do not leave it sitting on your bed, loaded with the safety off. Even our policemen can't be trusted to be responsible with guns. What are the odds that all the fools who bought their first guns to "defend" their families after Sandy Hook are going to do any better. They're not, and that's why we're seeing a literal epidemic of accidental shootings. It's only going to get worse. Meanwhile, the NRA and gun and ammo manufacturers are making a killing off of idiots who don't understand statistics. If you have a gun in your home, everyone in your home is 5x as likely to die by gunfire. That's the OPPOSITE of being safer. Also, you're much more likely to commit suicide if you own a gun, which may not be such a bad thing, compared to accidentally killing one of your kids, or having a child in your house shoot a friend or family member. Guns aren't toys. Really, they aren't.

    April 15, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Sharon

    Then let them go back home where they can feel safe.

    April 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Anonymous

    I love how they correlate drop in students coming to America with gun violence with little to no regard for things like skyrocketing American HigherEd cost, and recessed world economies.....That has nothing to do with it does it Mr. Kerry.....

    April 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. Gaunt

    I am horrified by the ignorance and lies of the far right and its gun-fetishist lackies. Just look at the silly fiction posted here in this thread:

    -One person claiming this is one of the safest countries in the world: regardless of the fact that out Murder rate is over TEN TIMES that of most European countries, and our violent crime rates are FOUR times higher.

    -One person ranting about how background cheks would violate the constitution: even though the USSC has declared it would not. period.

    -One person asking why we dont just enforce the laws on the books? GREAT idea. Criminals and the insane buying guns is already illegal. With compulsory background checks wer could enforce those laws already on the books!

    April 15, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. David

    There are many many forign students that come to the town that I live in. A few of them do internships at my place of employment. I have not met on student who says they are scared of guns. And the last one the was here from Tajikistan and absolutly loved going out and shooting with me. He also brought friends from South Korea and Jamaica with him and they had a blast also...Kerry has no idea what he is talking about.

    April 15, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. Lol

    Foreigners at my university still wear doctors masks so they don't get bird flu. We could all take a lesson in irrational fears from foreigners

    April 15, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Keith in Massachusetts

    Paragraph 6 explains why the number of Japanese students enrolling in U.S. schools is dropping. Where do guns enter the picture?

    April 15, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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