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. Freeman Word

    Kerry scares patriotic freedom loving Americans.

    April 15, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Mark

    Kerry just lost all credibility with me on this statement. If there is anyone who has helped to increase the perception that "people are just running around with guns" here in America, it has to be CNN. I also like the headline that says students are scared of 'guns'–clearly not what his statement says...In history lessons, we criticize the propoganda machines that the Nazis put in place to turn the German population against the Jews. CNN (and all mainstream, 24-hour news outlets) are FAR more powerful today than anything the Germans used.

    April 15, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Lady Liberty

    Mr. Kerry I call B.S. on your logic. I have friends who are/were foreign students and legal gun ownership didnt scare them. What did scare them, lack of security in public places, gang violence in cities, irresponsible drug and alcohol use, lack of enforcement of DUI/DWi laws, and liberal brainwashing on college campuses.

    April 15, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. Paul Zanussi

    Good, they are suppose to be scary for those that may do harm. It is a tool for protection, fun, and hunting. If the media is so concerned why are tv shows and movies so violent. Thats where foreigners get their impressions of the US.

    April 15, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Loki

    maybe they should try schools in other countries–Iran–Iraq–North Korea–Cuba

    April 15, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Alex

    Funny, the foreign students I knew in grad school all wanted to go shooting with me. Afraid they were not.

    April 15, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. rukiding

    good...stay home...

    April 15, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Portovelo

    Secretary Kerry has not been in his new job long enough to leave Senator Kerry behind.

    April 15, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. david m

    The NRA would rather see 100 Newtowns then have any background checks or any other form of gun control.

    April 15, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. nepawoods

    Let's have some basic competency in statistics be a prerequisite to coming to study here. Problem solved, as nobody with such competency would be afraid.

    April 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Too late now!!

    Let's have more students from underdeveloped countries that hate America & pay to put them through school to teach them nuclear engineering, so we can negotiate w/ those countries 10-20 yrs from now to NOT develop them! I mean wasn't that the logic back in the 80's when iranian students were taking those class's here in the U.S droves. Those kinds of class's should be allowed for Americans who pass background checks. I guess Diplomat's don't have enough to do..

    April 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Jimmy

    our 34th ranked education system is what's scaring foreign students away.. moron

    April 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Joe Reston

    Good, then stay HOME!

    April 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Johnny

    The ignorance and intolerance in these comments is astounding. As if its really that big of a deal to hear someone speak another language or to have different ideals. Europe, and many other places, seem to get along with it just fine, And if we're talking from an economic standpoint, these foreign students (or their home university /government) pay A LOT of money to come here.

    I personally liked the presence of foreign students when I was in college. I got to meet great people and learn a lot about different cultures. It would be a shame if future generations did not have this opportunity (although I feel that a long term impact from recent shootings has yet to be proven).

    April 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Zombieocracy

    On the other hand, the Chinese students should feel right at home with our abortion rates, except that we abort male children as well as females, so that might be kind of off putting for them. But Kerry probably isn't nearly as concerned about the 88,000 partial birth abortion deaths since Roe as he is about the 317 school shootings in the same time period. Both tragic stats, but some liberals have no sense of proportionality.

    April 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. The Central Scrutinizer

    "The bloody wild west?" OMG please ! If you do not factor in the drug dealing gangs in the Ghetto shooting each other in 'turf wars' this is a very peaceful country – If you fear getting shot (or robbed, raped , and or burgarized) – don't go into the Ghetto These people fear our gun culture because most of them are used to being told what to do – where to go and what they can say by thier repressive governments – in Europe especially so because they're 'socialized' – not 'civilized' – we broke away from that centuries ago because we wanted to be free from the Monarchy – they still haven't quite grasped that concept over there yet and likely never will

    April 15, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. CraigRB

    They should also base their reason, for not wanting to come here, on the uneducated responses from the losers writing most of these posts.

    April 15, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. beingpushedtotheright

    3.66 more years until them Democratic Party is removed from power. This is from andependent voter who leaned center-left. I've heard way too much nonsense and seen too much opportunistic response to an American tragedy.

    April 15, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. John P.

    Maybe we should try to fix the violence issues. It doesn't matter how many guns someone has if they aren't trying to hurt someone else. on the other hand, if someone is trying to do harm almost anything they might have could be used as a weapon..

    April 15, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. J G

    Good. The primary university in my state is already selling its soul to foreigners because they pay a much higher tuition. When I walk around my old school's campus, I feel like I'm in Asia. Apparently state-funded universities have forgotten their mission of primarily educating those in their state. The fewer foreigners applying, the better.

    April 15, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. beingpushedtotheright

    3.66 more years until them Democratic Party is removed from power. This is from an independent voter who leaned center-left. I've heard way too much nonsense and seen too much opportunistic response to an American tragedy.

    April 15, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. John

    Guns scare foreign students? SO?

    April 15, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. David B

    This Administration is so corrupt they will say anything. John Kerry is nothing but part of the extended Obama machine. Problem is this isn't Chicago.. What a Joke

    April 15, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. Obahtr

    If they don't like it leave, duh!

    April 15, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. DD

    Foreign exchange students have pre-formed opinions about America based on Hollywood. We may want to start with gun control there, before we waste any more time gum flapping about how the 2nd amendment scares non-contributing foreigners.

    Anyway, now that Kerry is so obviously enjoying his lipstick, don't expect any backboned principals out of him. He fits in nicely with the rampant emotionality crowd these days, makeup and all.

    April 15, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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