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. Frank PA

    The majority of exchange students I have hosted explained to me they learned of violence in the US by the American movies they saw. This is how they shaped their view/opinion of violence in the United States.

    April 15, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. tim

    Took my friend from China shooting. He loved it. CNN is ignorant as usual.

    April 15, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. wade

    Who cares they can always go home.

    April 15, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Great Country

    Good. They can always stay home.

    April 15, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Mark R.

    Kerry is an idiot. I just read a report a few weeks ago that there are more international students coming to the US for education then ever before. I do not really care if they are 'afraid' that I own a gun. This is MY country, MY rules... If they don't like it, don't come here – bye! see ya!

    April 15, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. nomoretraitors

    Ok. So stay home. Problem solved. Next......

    April 15, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. BOb the Prairie Dog

    Conservatives love guns and hate foreigners, so this is not likely to move the debate...

    April 15, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Dimi

    I was a foreign student once upon a time in the USA. I loved the gun culture and joined it soon after.

    April 15, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Chris

    As a U.S.-born American, I had absolutely no trouble getting into my university, which consequently had a large amount of foreign students. Foreign students pay full tuition, unlike in-state-resident Americans whose tuition is subsidized by taxpayers. Just because you were not smart enough or lacked initiative to apply yourself and didn't get into college/university does not mean that foreign students are stealing your place in school. If more international students come to the US, then there will be more growth in universities–in other words, to the academically illiterate, the number of seats in colleges nationwide is not some fixed number that cannot adjust to changes in enrollment. I am actually glad that smarter foreign students are in our universities rather than the ignorant, bigoted Americans proudly displaying their inferiority on this page.

    April 15, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Jason

    Mr Kerry I didn't think I could respect you any less, but congrats sir, you managed to lower my opinion of you even more with this nonsense.

    April 15, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. bigd

    that is awesome!!!!!!! maybe we can take care of AMERICANS now

    April 15, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. PATRIOT00

    To all idiots who have made ignorant comments.

    1. Foreign students pay 3 times the Tuition as they are always considered out of state
    2. Mostly they come for Higher education like Masters and mostly in areas like science. Go to any Masters class you will see a lot more international students. We cant blame them if Bubba wants to go after the cheerleaders rather than go after math or science.
    3. Most American kids don't want to major in Science or Math, because it is hard.
    4. According to forbes June 19th 2011 article. 40% of Fortune 500 are started by immigrants or their kids.

    So stop being stupid, we want the best and brightest to come and study here and contribute. If you want to raise the bar and allow folks to come here to study only in certain fields and only for Masters. I am all for it.

    April 15, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. wangweilin

    My friend visiting from China said guns are illegal for citizens so they kill each other with knives. Took him to the shooting range and he loved it.

    April 15, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. ClarencE elkin

    oh was this because Gay's have a higher disease ratio

    April 15, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. beingpushedtotheright

    they think they're scared now...wait until North Korean push boots on their ground. They may wish they had a gun...who will protect them? Good old USA.

    April 15, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. bill

    so i guess if foreign students didn't like free speech we would get rid of that to?? kerry you couldn't be president, dont screw up this job

    April 15, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. billmosby

    The number of murders by firearm have been decreasing for the past several years, though. So perhaps it's just the heightened reporting scaring people.

    April 15, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. nomoretraitors

    "Guns are a nuisance to our society. We have more than 30,000 gun related deaths per year"

    Hey Hector, cars kills more than that. Maybe we should get ready of them too.

    They also cause global warming

    April 15, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    So now the "reasoning" isn't even to ban guns for our own citizens supposed benefit but for foreign students? What a load of crap, I disagree with but understand the argument for gun bans to "save lives" here but I think this is ridiculous.

    April 15, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. hon ma

    Who cares what foreigners think...don't come here of you're scared.

    April 15, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. David

    US citizens are scared of Obama and Kerry.

    April 15, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. nomoretraitors

    Guns are a nuisance to our society. We have more than 30,000 gun related deaths per year"

    Hey Hector, cars kills more than that. Maybe we should get rid of them too.

    They also cause global warming

    April 15, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Nate

    I'm afraid of the governments in many countries, if they are afraid of one of our hedges against such things they can stay home.

    April 15, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. marc

    they are not coming due to our failing schools. they are being polite by not giving real reason.

    April 15, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. John W

    Like the others say, don't like it? Go away.

    April 15, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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