(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.
Kerry is not what you think. Read "Not fit for Command." I will iterate... ban drunk drivers and knives. Mr Kerry should come to TX. Foreign students pay in state tuition. They take a big bite out of the amount of US citizens. One university caters to foreign nationals. Does something seem wrong here?
john is correct stay home
The fact that any nut can buy an assault weapon with no background check or registration scares me and I am a US citizen.
This country is infested with guns, and that is a big problem. Many of the comments here show how low the level of education is among the gun lovers, and even more the level of intolerance and cultural illiteracy. Thank God that the quiet majority in this country knows better and will guarantee that we will continue to vote the Republicans out of office at the next turn, so we can continue the uphill battle of bringing back civil discourse and solve problems with intelligence and common sense, and go the way of non-violence.
You didn't have a problem with guns when you were in Vietnam so cut the crap.
What? Is this the same guy who said to Army personnel, that if you don't do well in studies, you get stuck in the Army?
So many of this administration use such silly arguments to pass gun control legislation.
Foreign students scare me. Aren't they the ones who took hostages in Ian? Over threw Mubarak? They should be worried if they come here.
In the global economic climate, I would have figured it's the expense.
Good! Now we won't have to pay for their education! (Because other countries are safer, lol!)
Maybe they should study in New York or Chicago, with the gun laws in those cities they'll be safe.
ummmmm...nonsense...plus i could care less if non-americans are afraid of coming here. How is this a bad thing?
Whatever. Leaves more room for American kids
well, congrats Kerry – while all you politicians had your eyes off the ball battling a non-sense gun regulation battle to keep the partisan wars going – the morons in this world upgraded to bombs again... try putting the nonsense away and focusing on reality for awhile
Wow, people here are so mean, so insensitive to all those who lost loved ones as a result of gun violence. Frankly, I am scared that most of you even own guns
Dear people thinking of coming to the USA to take advantage of our educational system. Sorry our guns scare you. Your bombs scare us. Please feel free to stay home.
Are they also afraid of screwdrivers and hammers?
Foreign students 'scared' of guns in U.S. If you are scared............Stay away and get your education elsewhere
bombs scare me more. I'll keep my guns.
Foreign students scare my guns!
My goodness, the number of angry, mean, xenophobic comments in response to this article...now that is what is really scary!
What is so different now than 30 years ago? Gun ownership is increasing, but gun violence has actually decreased. This has more to do with perception, not reality.
This is ridiculous, when I was in college I had a room mate from Germany, and several other foreign students that lived with me and none at all minded that I had firearms. I even took them out shooting none of them had issues with it. Any fear of coming over to the U.S. to study is media hyped hysteria.
they can stay home and the can keep kerry too
kerry is full of it, if this country is so scary then why do we have a major imigration problem going on?