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. wild man

    cnn you never cease to amaze me , pushing your progressive propaganda it makes me sick. we're wasting time talking about how others feel about our country. it's america love it or leave it. why don't you self appointed media experts report real news like the national defence authorization act of 2012 or the fact that everyone in the federal government is a corrupt thief who misappropriate our tax dollars and then lie to us about it. they are destroying our country and we are letting them do it. we the people

    April 15, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. OregonTom

    Maybe Kerry should move to a foreign country?

    April 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Steve- Illinois

    Yeah! There not coming here because of the guns! Not because of the recession, not because our educational institutions have increased tuition substantially, over the last 10 years. It must be the guns! Never mind that both, homicide rates, and violent crime, have dropped substantially, it must be the guns!
    Go blow that smoke somewhere else libs!

    April 15, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Athenasaints

    Like NRA said, the problem is not the gun, it is the people. Problem is, NRA has no interest to support a car-driver-license-like or aircraft-pilot-license-like process for gun ownership, in order to weed out the criminal, crazy or incompetent gun-owners. The issue is simple, money. Same as slavery, when you are making billions from slavery, nobody want to abolish slavery, until you fight a war about it.

    April 15, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Joe

    Can somebody post one good reason why Americans should consider this a problem?

    April 15, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. ry

    OH! What a terrible thing! Foreign students who get a ridiculous amount of tuition assistance from the U.S. gov't just because they're from another country not wanting to come to the U.S. anymore. I feel sooo bad for them when we have plenty of kids within our own country that can't get a dime of assistance from our gov't to further their education because their parents "make too much money". What a load of B.S.!!! Scared of guns, well, I'm scared of knives because there's plenty of people getting stabbed overseas while on vacation in certain countries, therefore, I stay away from their country.

    April 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. mark

    Go to the middle east everyone is armed . Go to japan and the are armed with a calculator . Both have an interest in the down fall of the us

    April 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. tcaneer

    Let'em stay at home, we've got more foreigners here now than we need. We'll keep our guns, they can do whatever they want.

    April 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. roosterfish 5.56

    1 hour ago
    Kerry: Foreign students 'scared' of guns in U.S.

    And your point is........

    April 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. Truth is.

    Interesting. What nationality was the Virginia Tech shooter, again? South Korean? A large percentage of college shooters are immigrant students with "culture acclimation" issues. FACT.

    April 15, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Anne

    It is true. And the people here saying "don't come then", what do you want? A secluded country like North Korea because it is more important to you the right of carrying all kind of weapons without limitations? You are weird.

    April 15, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. jmace57

    I seldom run around with a gun. I usually just stroll.

    April 15, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Name

    I work at a gun range and we get about two our three big groups of foreign students who rent glock pistols and AR-15s. Just yesterday I taught a couple from China how to shoot for the first time in there life. They told me are weak justice system scares them. The young girl asked me why do we need guns? I told her for home and self defense and sport to make it short. She replied for home defense why. I replied people break into homes all the time here in the US. She said they still do that here. I explained to her that some criminals are life time criminals and get caught six our seven times and are free on the streets. I told her you can murder someone here and serve twenty years and be let free from prison. That was scary for them not guns.

    April 15, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. Wilson

    Great! Let's curb the constitutional rights of American citizens to calm the irrational fears of foreigners. Good job CNN, you've managed to scare at least one segment of people into believing your gun violence bs.

    April 15, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. The Flamingo Kid

    As if there is not gun violence in other countries. What a joke.

    April 15, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Goby Dillis

    I really like the one where they act like that additional firearms legislation in regards to increased background checks and limiting our rights as a whole is important. Other than the fact that shooters in our most recent barage of run and gun sprees would have all passed the additional scrutiny and still could have aquired their guns legally. These politicians are worthy of any name you may feel the need to call them. Now if they can just finish of our Countries founding principles we can finish sucking.

    April 15, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. biglio

    I'm Italian and live in Canada and share the same sentiments, as much as I love the US I would think twice before sending my kids to study in the US.
    Guns are the main reason and attitudes like the ones highlighted in this forum are the other.
    Americans simply don't understand that top foreigners make up most of their academic and research corp, more than 80% of PhDs in the US are foreigners, kick them out and you will see where America goes. Just for the ignoramuses on this forum I would throw out some names.
    Einstein, Oppenheimer, Von Braun, Fermi, etc, etc......
    America would be nothing without foreigners.

    April 15, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Take all weapons from Democrats and expose non gun owners to criminals. Make it easier to rob, rape, mutilate, and murder liberal vermin. This would solve most of Amerioca's problems.

    April 15, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. elchucko

    Who cares of foreign studnts are "scared"? Let me know. 😉

    April 15, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. dah00

    The issue is money, folks. These foreign students pay, and they help support the university system here. We still have one of the best and most prestigious university systems in the world, but multiple factors may help to erode that perception.

    April 15, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Eric

    We have a right to keep and bear arms. When you are required to pass a class or obtain a liscense first, ownership of guns becomes a priviledge, not a right.

    April 15, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. sumday

    funny every time I've gone to central or south America I see armed security guards at the airport, at parking lots, at stores like McDonalds, or their equivalent to Wal-Mart, at apartment complex, pretty much every where I've gone I've seen security guards walking around with automatic weapons, or shotguns, so I think John is lying here. Also in college I had many foreign friends- one was my roommate for 4 yrs and not one of them ever complained about guns, although some were surprised to know that any individual could own one. I even took 2 of my friends to the shooting range to let them shot a gun for the first time.

    April 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. Pete

    OK, CNN, this is a ridiculous story ... even for you.

    April 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. rpm2365

    Good, maybe this will keep all those foreigners from coming to the US and we can keep our jobs here........

    April 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Manuel J.

    For all you anti-gun folks. In Japan, stealing, lying, crime, etc. are attributes that are viewed very harshly. It means something to lose face. Whereas, being a criminal is often held in high esteem; listen to a little rap music.

    In short, Japan has a population of about 300 million people and had less than 600 murders. THE PROBLEM in the U.S., we glorify harming others and do NOTHING to enforce current law.

    April 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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