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

    Tell the Student's to stay in their own Country if they are afraid and want to disarm the people.

    April 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. jonnyg

    Great news...foreign students are taking the spots that should go to US Citizens. Many are being turned away that are fully qualified so colleges can get the higher tuition rate from foreigners. These foreign students take their knowledge home and the USA has no benefit at all. So the more we can scare off the better

    April 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Big Carl

    I live in Massachusetts and we have never bin happier to get that guy out of or senators seat what a theft. Got to DC with about 1mil in the bank and left DC with 65mil and that's not the wife's money ?? As for gun's I own a few and have a licenses to carry a concealed weapon and due most of the time. NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU'LL HAVE TO DROP A HAJEEE THAT GOT HERE ON A VISA FOR SCHOOL FROM THAT CLOWN..

    April 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Guff

    I just checked, nope, I don't care one bit about foreign students

    April 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Jim

    Why is this of any importance? Exactly why is it of benefit to the US to have Japanese (or any other nationality) students here?

    "...not running around with guns..." Wow, and this guy represents the US. Idiot.

    April 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. Brad

    I don't think us visitors are suggesting its "bad" in the USA. Just that there are 300 million guns there and we do see crazy shooting on TV almost every day. You just don't see that in other countries. That is why students are opting to Canada, NZ, the UK and other places to get expensive educations.

    So if gun control won't fix the problem, does the NRA have better ideas? Last I heard they wanted to arm everyone... including elementary school teachers.

    April 15, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. Bud

    The article itself states that overall Japanese students going overseas are down. For all countries. Kerry just tries to back up his embarrassed president. They like all politicians do not want to confront the real causes of violence. They just want find a scape goat and ride it. One other point . Japan is the size of Conn. They had 580 homicides with strict gun control. How many did Connecticut have this year?

    April 15, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Rick

    So what? Stay in your own country and get an education then. Every culture is different and I don't feel that ours needs defending from those who's culture includes a fondness for pedophilia.

    April 15, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. yazz

    The decrease in foreign students is a result of the world economic situation, to try and pawn this off on guns is a desperate attempt to pass personal agendas by Kerry and the Democrats....

    April 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. bgun

    Excellent, tell them to stay home then!

    April 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. simplulo

    Suicide is a much bigger problem than murder in both Japan and the US, and the Japanese suicide rate is nearly double that of the US. Reassure the Japanese parents that their kids would therefore much less likely to die studying in the US. Silly? Yes, but so is their fear of guns. The US news media are playing a big role in fanning these fears, creating what is known as an "availability cascade". Very unprofessional and irresponsible.

    April 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Good

    Well Here's a suggestion stay in your own country !!!!!! We don't want you !!!!

    April 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. Mike

    Thats funny, I wasn't aware that the US was in the business of curtailing constitutional rights because foreigners thought they were 'tooall darned scary'...

    April 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Mountainsboyca

    @brohem: that's fine...I am sure they will listen to you. Just remember that when your economy tanks further. Remember that as tourism falls further. Remember that as the world continues to grow and dispise the US way of life.
    Besides, is it not the opportunity for america to brainwash the students into the ideals of the American way? Is it not an opportunity to exert your dominance and arrogance over others as is the culture in the US. Thought that's what you wanted
    This is not aimed at all Americans. Just those that cannot see past the nose on their face....or more accurately, past the foresight on the end of your barrel.

    April 15, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Libdumb

    Stay Home. Who cares if they are scared.

    April 15, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Robert

    The ILLEGALS do not seam to fear the US. Maybe CNN International should tell the truth when the speak of the EVIL United States. I go to Europe at least once a year. If you heard CNN International News you would think they spew anti US Propaganda.Unfortunately, CNN is the only source of US news in most foreign countries. One point of view which is the CNN point of view. No objective journalism anymore.

    April 15, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Mark

    What a scientific way to create a story out of nothing. I talked to a bunch of people and this one guy said that Japanese students are afraid to come to the US because of our gun culture. That settles it, guns are bad and they are the reason we don't have Japanese foreign exchange students. Could it be true that this one person believes this is the case, yes! Is this assessment something that can be broadly applied to all countries, or even everyone in Japan, and justify a statement like "Students in other countries assessing where to study abroad are increasingly scared of coming to the United States because of gun violence", NO!!! I talked to someone one time too and they said that...insert inflammatory, irrational statement here...but I digress.

    April 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Libdumb

    It's you I am scared of Kerry. You are nothing but a liar and a tax evader.

    April 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. simplulo

    Half of US murders involve urban drug gangs (see the FBI homicide statistics). If you are not engaged in the drug trade, your chances of getting murdered in the US are the same as in Europe. But it is not the urban murders that make the news, rather the sensational suburban mass killings, relatively few in a nation of 310M+.

    April 15, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Sully

    The only solution is to ban all guns. That way we know that the only ppl with guns are the ones that we dont want to have them! #LiberalLogic

    April 15, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. edward_s

    people go to other countries to experiance the cultures. If guns keep people from coming here then it's their lose. America isn't the only country with violence. Both political parties are taking the gun topic too far.

    April 15, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. DustyOnes

    No problem. Get rid of foreign students

    April 15, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Mirana

    For those who think it's a good thing that less are coming to America because of this – that's a very selfish stance to take. Of course you're not thinking of how this would affect the economy at all would you? That's not your concern is it, unless you don't have a job and need someone to be mad at?
    Those who argue that the stats of deaths and crime are skewed – you're also unamerican, inhumane, and again selfish. Whatever happened to the American mindset that "if it saves just one life then it's worth it?" An earlier poster pointed to the thousands of deaths – many of them children. It's insane to look at that and say oh well – it could be worse. It shouldn't be that bad to begin with! We should strive for a crime free society, we'll never get there but it's better than throwing up our arms and saying oh well. We are American and we have high crime in our country. At least we got our guns. Grow up, grow a heart, and start caring for someon other than yourself.
    And for the post-bacc who says the numbers are wrong because there are a lot of foreign students in your area. You don't represent all of America. Your argument is pointlss and invalid unless there are more than the 21k foreign students in your area.

    April 15, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. Uncle Sam

    Guns should scare people. They can be deadly, and dont forget it.

    April 15, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Rob S

    Japan is a homogenous society

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