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. joep222

    Imagine, just imagine, if the US government actually was more concerned with protecting and preserving the US Constitution and US citizens than trying to please people from countries outside of the US, while violating US citizen rights.

    What a concept that would be.

    April 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. dotheflippin'math

    The more guns out there, the more that fall into the "wrong hands," like that idiot policeman's 4 year old nephew. I'm just going to sit back and watch while you gun "lovers" join the dinosaurs. The 2nd ammendment was written when all we had were flintlocks, muskets, and cannons, and we had just declared our independence from England, the Spanish owned Texas, and the Indians were still fighting back. Only paranoid, xenophobic fools, and domestic terrorists need guns with 15-round clips. How about we let them trade their guns for cannons? You can still defend your home, but you'll have a hard time finding a holster for it. A home intruder would be much more intimidated seeing a cannon in your foyer. Of course, knowing gun owners, there'd be a rash of cannonball injuries, but at least the suicides would be more newsworthy. I have a good friend who collects guns. Fwiw, he is crazy and depressed ever since he lost his job (but he just bought 2 more guns on credit). I don't visit him much these days.

    April 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. steve

    How is this a bad thing? Tommorow CNN will probably have an article about how hard it is for students to get into college!

    April 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. sparks2000

    Since when do the japanese determine our domestic policy?quite frankly it doesnt matter what they think...thats why we are a free society and they are still living under our governments thumb.

    April 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. Paul

    So suicide bombers are A-OK with them?

    April 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. Larry in CO

    Let them go to England or Mexico. Private gun ownership is almost impossible in those countries but they do have much higher rates of overall violent crime. They can study at Oxford and be stabbed. We don't need them here. We have enought stupid people as it is.

    April 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Stanley

    So let me see if I understand this correctly, I must give up my constitutional rights so more Japanese students come to us to study? What else should I do to make sure that Japanese students are not inconvenienced ? In the last 20 years crime has been going down in this country and it includes violent crime. That's trend coincided with wider gun ownership and spread of " Stand your ground" laws. If Japanese students weren't afraid to come to more dangerous America 20 years ago surely they should not be scared now.

    April 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. nolibtards

    our government is even more afraid of us owning guns.

    April 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Howard

    Gun violence has been declined every year since my birth.

    April 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. B

    CNN, you have removed yourself from the pool of respectable journalism and dove head first into Obama's pool of Propaganda. Along with MSNBC, you have become the vehicle by which Joe Biden and Barack Obama are using to extend gun control and leave law-abiding citizens more defenseless while gun-toting criminals not only DON'T obey the law, but they will prey on more people who are forced to disarm. CNN, you've sold your soul to Obama's propaganda machine and are cheating the sheeple audience you have left out of hearing the truth and being able to protect themselves. You are true sellouts and have no journalistic integrity as a news source.

    April 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Scott

    Oh yeah, let them study somewhere else.... That's the proper attitude to have. Man, anyone who feels like this needs to get a reality check. We don't want to be the country that's so embroiled in violence that nobody wants to come here. That's a status reserved for third world countries. The proper attitude should be "Let's work together to bring this country back from the dark brink of violence and out of control gun use." It doesn't say much about us that we prize owning a fully automatic AK over having a peaceful society. I guess wanting to live in peace without violence is just too much to ask of today's citizen.

    April 15, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. JJ

    Funny. When faced with gun control legislation, conservatives claim there's no need for it because violence has been decreasing in the US for decades. Yet more conservatives than ever are paranoid and packing heat.

    April 15, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Bill

    I love when people talk about gun fatalities alone. Dead is dead. The mechanism is irrelevant. Compare violent crimes period.

    April 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Michael

    The maybe they should go to school in their own country.

    April 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. pat carr

    "Gun ownership should be a "privilege" not a "right". The 2nd Amendment needs amending again."

    Sorry if you find freedom inconvenient. I am sure there are other places you'll find more enjoyable. (north korean or iran). We should also adjust the first amendment so we don't have to read posts like yours

    April 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. tom

    BS. Students weren't scared until overheated media coverage and 24 hour hype made them that way.

    April 15, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. tony

    I'm an ex-military marksman. I know there is no such thing as a defensive gun. The first to shoot, kills 95% of the time.

    April 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Michael

    I live in Japan for 2 years while serving in the U.S. Navy. I could literally go anywhere in that Country (and I did) and felt safe. Also consider that when the tsunami hit a couple years ago there was absolutely no looting. The Japanese simply have respect for each other. RESPECT is lacking in the U.S.!

    April 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. pjoe

    I'm scared of guns too ... big deal.

    News flash ... United States citizens have the right to own guns. Be informed. Be warned. Be nice. Welcome to America.

    April 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. TonyH110

    That's funny see in my work we get lots of customers from Europe and Japan, some their first time in the US – without fail guns come up in conversation and they're itching to go to a local range. They're like kids at Christmas and rapture how wonderful it is to have our Constitution and freedom to responsibly own and use guns. I'd say these students Kerry talks about are probably anti-gun brainwashed anyway!

    April 15, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. tanthonyS

    Less foreign students DOES mean more room for American students! Just sayin'.

    April 15, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. dorf

    For thosse that equate car ownership and driving with gun ownership. I have NEVER been asked for my driver's license when buying a car. Insurance, yes, license no. Check any police blotter and accident reports, its so effective no one every gets pulled over and is driving on a suspended license? No one drives with out one? Students have a choice where to go, if they don;'t come to the US, fine, more room for our own kids to go.

    April 15, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. loukiii

    Good. Stay home.

    April 15, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. kayaker247

    There's a simple solution to this problem. All foreign students should get guns and be "good guys". Problem solved. sincerely, the NRA.

    April 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. ouch that truth really hurts

    So now our Constitutional rights are under attack because FOREIGNERS don't like them?!! Seriously Democrats, have you lost your mind?!! Is this the new global order?? Message to foreigners: STAY AWAY if you do not like our laws and Constitution. Live like sheep right where you are.

    April 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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