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. Sheikh Yerbouti

    I'm sure foreigners' aversion to the US has absolutely nothing to do with their experiences with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. ports of entry or internally with the Toilet Security Adm... er.. Transportation Security Administration.

    April 15, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Langor

    Another good reason to buy guns.

    April 15, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Uniquitous

    Good, then stay out of America. If you are so gutless that you think we have an issue here, go to school somewhere else.

    April 15, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Then let them stay in their own country. I'm scared of people who don't speak english.

    April 15, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. angela

    Umm, excuse me sir, it isn't like we have had NEVER had a problem with a good majority of these "foreign students".

    April 15, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. Naota

    How about explosions at marathons, Kerry?

    They afraid of them too.?

    April 15, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. BarryG

    Kerry is a typical liberal jumping on the old band wagon and directed by liberals in politics and the media. I have had numerous foreign exchange students, it's not guns that scare them as much as the drugs, gangs, and crime in the big cities.

    April 15, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Derek

    I am not overly concerned with how foreigners feel about safety when in the U.S. I am more concerned with using propaganda such as this to sway gun control or to change our opinion on the right to bear arms. It is shameful.

    April 15, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Jared

    Islam scares me... what is Mr. Kerry going to do about that?

    April 15, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Bruce Cole

    Yeah, like I'm not afraid to visit tacoland down south, right???

    April 15, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. KBNJ

    Kerry is right – I had a foreign student friend a few years ago who felt the same and that was part of the reason he opted not to live in the U.S. after graduating from one our best MBA programs. That said, and with all due respect for my friend, tough luck! What's more important, attracting more foreign students to further increase our cost of higher education (higher demand = higher price; Econ 1) or our Bill of Rights and the protections it affords us? Better yet, restrict our Universities to foreign students who will commit in some way to the U.S.'s economy in some way after graduating.

    April 15, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Jokesterer

    Are they not scared of earthquakes, tsunamis, radiation and Godzillas?

    April 15, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Will

    Foreign students aren't coming because extremely high tuitions and the the low probability of getting a work visa afterwards.
    You guys need smarter foreigners to give your fat asses jobs at our companies. Your economy sucks, and it makes me laugh to read all you rednecks say foreigners aren't welcome. All foreign students do is contribute to your economy, if they get a job here it's because they are much SMARTER than you. deal with it. It's better for America.

    April 15, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Garad

    one more thing...

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Everyday, someone is murdered by a gun in the U.S. I'm not surprised nor do I blame foreigners for not wanting to study here.FROM OUR VERY INCEPTION, THIS IS A COUNTRY BUILT ON VIOLENCE.

    Someone should give this guy a history book and remind such that he might realize that the Boston Massacre was a crucial turning point in the conflict between G.B. and the U.S.

    I'm pretty sure they fired first and our citizens were protesting unarmed.

    You should be thankful our ancestors fled to this country for freedom. Just think you could have been a apart of any number of massacres in the name of God that our ancestors endured before they had the sense to relocate. At least it only took us 200 years to realize that everything from which God we worship or what color we are does not warrant persecution. How long did that take England, the Holy Roman Empire, the Ottomans, etc? Democracy may not be perfect but as U.S. citizens we should at least respect the social innovations the U.S. is responsible for.

    April 15, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Alex

    So maybe they should attend university in their home nation? Just sayin'.

    April 15, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. scott bleyle

    would they feel better if they was thrown outta windas? Archie Bunker

    April 15, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. John

    The overall number of International students studying in the US continues to increase each year. Kerry and this article pick out one country where the numbers have gone down. I work with International students at a major university and they are not fearful of guns. Most are not fearful of coming to the US. Those that are fearful, usually are because of the media within their own country scaring them by saying such things as Americans hate all Internationals or that Americans hate all Muslims. Kerry is following orders by the current administration to create a culture that fears guns.

    April 15, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. manonatallhorse

    Well excuse me, they're afraid of gun violence in this country???? Well I can relate because I'm scared of being blown to bits, kidnapped and held for ransom, and or having my head chopped off in theirs.

    April 15, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Billy

    Good Ridance

    April 15, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Garnet

    How do they feel about bombs? Send them all to study in Boston!

    April 15, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. David s

    Yeah because other foreign countries are so safe! We can't even go to Mexico and feel safe!

    April 15, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Lothar

    Oh boy, here comes the redneck, teabilly hate speech. "Der derk er gerns!"

    April 15, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Brett

    Hey Kerry! Blasts in Boston and JFK library. I think it's a good thing that foreign students are afraid of our guns. You should start focusing on Americans instead of foreign feelings! That's why you're not president or vice president or anywhere near where you want to be in politics! Get a clue. Hey folks! stop buying from Arab gas stations. Yes! I'm jumping gun on blame for recent explosions but it's irrelevant. If blasts are homegrown, a fix of mental state from those Tim Mcveys might be corrected if you focus on Americans instead of the feelings of Mexicans, Canadians, Yemans, Jordans, Chinese, or any one else. This is why you're not big cheese!

    April 15, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. latvianqt

    Im an international student. My father is not only a passionate hunter but also loves guns. I never felt endangered by them. Even loved to shoot from time to time myself. I am not afraid from the guns. I am afraid from people who are not supposed to have guns shooting them. there should not be bans on weapons however, there should be more stricter background checks

    April 15, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. sungkee

    America is not civilized not yet. That's why I see all the idiot comment.

    April 15, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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