April 15th, 2013
07:48 AM ET
10 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. john

    Really? I've hosted 7 foreign exchange students and several interns. NOT ONE OF THEM was scared of guns. They were excited to try shooting. They all, however, expressed their fear of the US Government trying to take over/control their countries. I guess we've talked to different people.

    April 15, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. aby smith

    If the foreign students don't like it here go to school at home. We should be educating our own kids first anyways.

    April 15, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. are122

    Students in other countries assessing where to study abroad are increasingly scared of coming to the United States because of gun violence, <~~ Good.

    April 15, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  4. John Balbi

    Kerry is an idiot. Keep towing President Incompetents line.

    April 15, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  5. Matt

    Apparently they are not cultured when it comes to travel. The first time I went to Italy it kind of freaked me out to see Police walking around on the beat with full automatic weapons in hand. Thing is I was in their country so I had to get use to it or go home. I don't have any place expecting them to change their culture just because I don't like cops with full automatic weapons.

    April 15, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. Cindy

    I work on a university campus and there is no shortage of international students. As usual the media will push what is probably a minority of people and that is something all foreign students would need to think about. If you don't feel safe don't go there for school. Someone else will.

    April 15, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  7. Reaganlives4ever

    This is a total lie. There are more students studying in the US now than ever. There are 775k foreign students here. They are more than 55% of enrolled students in math, science & engineering programs at the top 194 schools ranked by us news and world report. there are 200k chinese alone. Kerry would love to have more foreign students knocking US citizens from the programs. And then our kids miss education, their kids are educated and then go back home and beat us in business, and WE TRAINED THEM. For this loser to say we need more of that and the way to accomplish this is to eliminate the 2nd amendment is beyond the pale.

    April 15, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. Chris

    That makes sense. So if foreign nationals are afraid of our guns, we should change our ways? Great. On another note, maybe we should also ask for South Africa's opinion of our worker safety programs and act accordingly.

    April 15, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    I think it's the economy stupid!

    April 15, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. Peshwar

    For all of you who want to grant unconditional amnesty to ILLEGAL aliens, it is takin ga toll on school systems and welfare office of we the taxpayers. You should live in a border state, and you would see for yourself. What do you not understand about ILLEGAL?

    April 15, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. Larry

    Easy solution - don't come here.

    April 15, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  12. dc

    Yet it is our country currently shielding them, our troops, our ships, our kids standing tall in that part of the world so the idiot running North Korea doesn't do something to REALLY give them cause to fear. When that first missile goes off, they'll wish that they had decided to enroll at UW Madison or Minnesota or Montana. Kerry dropped the ball here, for all of us.

    April 15, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  13. Nick Shafer

    Let them fear our guns all they want! Innocent men, women, and children were targeted by terrorists with bombs today. God help anyone who tries to remove my right to defend myself and those around me regardless of my ammo.

    April 15, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  14. Jmaes

    Propaganda that a 1940s german could almost be proud of.

    April 15, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  15. Mb

    perhaps Mr Kerry should look up the United States crime statistics before he bothers to speak. Violent crime has fallen in America for the last 10 years and people are less likely to be murdered in the US now than they were in the late 1960's and 1970's.

    April 15, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  16. Chris

    If the State Department were looking at the US from the outside, they would issue a travel warning because of how lax our gun laws are and the resulting proliferation of guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them. It would be great if we had laws on the books that were actually effective!

    April 15, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. Mike Jay

    Who cares if they are afraid?

    April 15, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  18. Rob Jones

    John Kerry is just ridiculous. Where do you start with this guy?

    April 15, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  19. Carver patriot

    Have you ever seen the neighborhoods in and around most colleges and universities absolute hell holes. They should be scared to send their children there.

    April 15, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  20. jeremy armstrong

    don't come then, not are problem.

    April 15, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  21. Steve-O

    Nobody's forcing them to come here. Do we need people from other countries to fill college classrooms or something?

    April 15, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  22. Daniel

    As a dual citizen (American-born/British) of mixed European heritage, I can state that it is the majority opinion of the British and other Europeans that Americans and their gun laws (or lack thereof) are incomprehensible to the point of insanity. Also, the superiority complex and narrow-mindedness harbored by Americans, such as so many of those posting on here, is what makes the USA such a disliked country abroad. But hey, most of you don't care anyway, right? Typical selfish arrogance.

    April 15, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  23. Tom

    Seems like a weak correlation. I would think the other reason listed are more the top couple of reasons. I guess American students are not scared of guns....seems like a dull assertion.

    April 15, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  24. Thunder Lizards

    It's time these little politicians start worrying about the American people and stop helping and worrying about the foreigners that's one part of many that is wrong with this nation, they are not American citizens. It's time our sorry goverment start helping Americans.

    April 15, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  25. sad day at the movies

    NK is threatening nukes and this moron wants to talk Gun Control ?????????
    Washington is broken my friends.

    April 15, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
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