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. Caspian

    Homicides have actually 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 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Big daddy

    Good ! Stay home, we don't want you or need any more people coming here.

    April 15, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. BSH

    This is total BS. The US homicide rate has been dropping steadily for years, and is now at a 50-year LOW. College campuses are exceptionally safe places, although urban campuses may be near some marginal neighborhoods (Temple in Philly comes to mind). From the article: "Figures have shown international study is down markedly among Japanese students to all destinations" The "scared of guns" tag is crass political opportunism supporting an ideological agenda. There is no basis in fact whatsoever for such a statement.

    April 15, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. mike

    Wow.572 homocides without guns. I swear...the issue with some morons is guns and not the folks who kill. Thank God I live in USA. I have a right to defend myself.

    April 15, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. boogertree

    They don't like it they can go elsewhere. We should not be pandering to foreigners. They are welcome to come here but we should not be changing to suit them, when we go elsewhere in the world we respect and conform to the ways of their culture/country.

    April 15, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Robb

    Who cares go away! Maybe an American student will be able to get into the institution to further their education instead of being turned away because htye are being compared to students on an unequal field!

    April 15, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Wally

    I can understand why foreigners would view the U.S. as unsafe and violent. There's a new shooting headline every day.

    April 15, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Candle

    It's nice to see CNN promoting the President's gun control agenda.

    April 15, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. rapierpoint

    Interesting. "Figures have shown international study is down markedly among Japanese students to all destinations, including the United States."

    Japanese international study is down everywhere, but it's only down in the US because of guns???

    April 15, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Paul R.

    If it weren't for lunatics, gang members and other criminals, there would be ZERO "gun violence" in the U.S. But why let that FACT stand in the way of the left-wing narrative.

    April 15, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. merlinfire

    To be honest, if an immigrant is scared of the freedoms we have here, and the risks associated, then let them stay home in their own country where they can be kept safe from the risks of freedom.

    April 15, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. popseal

    AWWWW......the spoiled little darlings should stay in the dorm' and call out for food.........

    April 15, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Jean

    Oh boo-hoo. Tough then don't come to the United States, where apparently, it's all the rage to come here, get an education and then criticize the country if it doesn't live up to what the foreigners think it should stand for.

    April 15, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. BullSh1t

    Wow, next thing article will be about Illegal immigrants will stop coming into our country because we have guns.

    What a ridiculous article and another example of sheep herding by the mainstream media.

    April 15, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. rayzer

    Maybe they are not coming because tuition has gone up!

    "Out of a total 582 homicides in Japan in 2008, 11 were by guns"
    This quote means people still kill people practically without using guns?

    April 15, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Jerry

    Tha's fantastic that he spoke to one person and it becomes the opinion of the entire planet....

    April 15, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. IndianaGreg

    Hmmmm...I wonder if the drop in international students coming here to study REALLY has to do with "Fear of Guns", or if it has more to do with American Schools not teaching students anything worthwhile and being a complete joke to the rest of the world. We don't teach kids skills they'll need to hold down a career...we don't give them an education on which they can lay a foundation for a successful adulthood...we give them participant ribbons and tell them that an inflated self-esteem is more important that anything else.

    April 15, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. BullCrap

    Wow, I predict the next article will be

    "Illegal immigrants fear coming into our country because we have guns"

    What a ridiculous article and another example of sheep herding by the mainstream media.

    April 15, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Lee Simek

    The biggest danger is losing ones freedom and liberties. Of course you can avoid any contact with guns by checking in to the nearest maximum security prison.

    April 15, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Jim

    Apparently, Kerry prefers constitutional monarchy with soft sovereignty is "held by the people". Most Japanese couldnt tell you Courtney Whitney wrote their constitution for a million yen, nor does anybody in Japan seem give a rats behind. Apparently, As long as the J kids got iPhones, JPOP, and designer brands they are happy enough. We are not your slaves Kerry. In America We The People are the sovereign and the bill of rights only clarified our natural God given rights to defend ourselves and our community with any weapons we see fit, not you, not any elected official no matter what ism or emotional levers they may try appeal. There are some disgusting people trying to use Socialism and Communism to undermine the Bill of Rights and we need to shine a light on it every time they try to slime it by the public. Disgusting!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Bugsy

    I reckon you want to go to school in America? Put on your cowboy hat and join us in the wild west. Sing it, "I wanna be a cowboy..."

    April 15, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. ho9y98yu

    And we care about this because? I understand caring about gun violence.... but the reason stated above is the least of the concerns.... total waste of reading time.

    April 15, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. donna

    WOW they will say anything to get people on their side of gun control..

    April 15, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. liberal disease

    Hey DB, no jobs for college graduates, did you ever think of that?

    April 15, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Rick

    Reading the comments above it's unbelieve the number of people who imply International students shouldn't be here.
    It's dangerous so many people render opinion about a subject without understanding the basics because it'll reflect on policies indirectly via their votes.

    Only during their education period International students contribute around $22 Billion a year to US economy. Check out every university's dean objectives and you'll see one is to increase the percentage of foreign students because they add directly to the school's bottom line.

    The real value is if/when they decide to stay. US ends up receiving a well educated and hard working immigrant for almost nothing. That's over $250K lumpsum contribution per student. People don't know that it costs the gov. on average $10,610 to send one student to school.

    April 15, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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