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. disgustedvet

    File this in the " Stay Home Then " category.

    April 15, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. muppet

    Are you sure its the guns and not the leaders that we have that turn off the interest in our schools? besides how many of our citizens are leaving the USA for an education outside? I think our citizens are more scared to go to a country where the government and the thugs control the weapons.

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

    I guess this has never been a problem in the past and suddenly it's become an issue. Give me a break

    April 15, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. carl

    I agree.....if they don't like it..stay home!

    April 15, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. brian

    "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."

    Then why did they come? You contradict yourself.

    April 15, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Winning!

    Then they must be scared stiff of corrupt politicians because they're an even bigger problem.

    April 15, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. Steve N.

    The prospect of John Kerry out there "speaking" for the US scares me!

    April 15, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. outdoorsdownsouth

    I wasn't aware that we had a shortage of foreign students coming to the US.

    April 15, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Jim

    Hmmmmmm..... gun violence that kills 1, 10, or 50 people... or stay in Tokyo for a North Korean nuke that wipes out millions.... pick your risk.

    April 15, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. MorePropaganda

    More propaganda from the CNN anti-second amendment machine. First its the second amendment, then it will be the first amendment. Believe that.

    April 15, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. Jeff

    if they don't like it here let them go home. We have more freedoms in this country then they have in theirs

    April 15, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Sam Simons

    "....Who cares they can always go home......"

    Exactly. Now,lets get back to more important matters-Justin BeeBee's latest blog,Kim's baby bump and what Piers)the educated idiot) thinks about.....anything.

    April 15, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Lilli

    I'm scared, too!! The number of guns in our country are way to scary for most sane people!!!!!

    April 15, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Rick

    Gawd, I'm glad this blubbering fool didn't make it into the White House.

    April 15, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. tkdbabe

    They can always go to Mexico where they have very strict weapons laws...

    April 15, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. Matt

    "one of the responses I got from our officials from conversations with parents" – One response based on second hand information. Way to reach for it. Must tow the current party line – "Pay attention to the guns not the economy"

    April 15, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Morgan C

    Even though violent crime including gun crime is going down every year media sensationalism makes it seem like we are dropping like flies here. I echo Mark's sentiment, my country, if they don't like it then don't come here!

    April 15, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. GS

    Well, if that is the case let them stay home or go somewhere else. If they are getting it off of movies what do you expect.

    April 15, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. bjd1020

    I dated an Iranian chick one time who was going to school at WVU. She was studying geothermal engineering. I always thought it was strange that we would be educating the people who could one day be wanting to destroy us.

    April 15, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. On Target

    Then don't come here for your education if your afraid....Its our right and it won't change for you, go to Mexico where gun ownership is illegal if you want.

    April 15, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Dr Matrix

    As usual, bring up anything about guns and the "from my cold dead hands" crowd starts screaming. They're all convinced that any discussion of guns will result in the government coming into their houses and cnfiscating their guns. People want sane gun laws. The number of people who want to take away guns is as small as the all guns at any cost crowd. Why can't the rest of us, about 95% of the population come together and find a way to reduce gun violence and not dismantle the 2nd Amendment?

    April 15, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Jeffe65

    I live in Arizona "where people are not running around with guns" either. Most of us carry discreetly, with only the criminal element being the ones heard about, and many of those, interestingly, are foreign. As usual, Kerry has his head up his backside...

    April 15, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Heroh

    I'm from Canada. We have middling gun laws – not overly restrictive, and not totally permissive. I'm scared to be in the US as well. It's the warrior culture and economic desperation mixed with terrible education and extreme individualism that makes people scared – not so much the actual guns themselves.

    April 15, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. dave

    Why am I not surprised that gun nuts are also xenophobic?

    April 15, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Bobbie

    Boy, these anti-gun loonies will stop at nothing to advance their agenda! Let those scardy-cat students try and get the same education in their own 'safe' countries. Maybe it will open up some spots for American kids.

    April 15, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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