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. Mike

    Don't worry kiddos...the liberal "gun free zones" will protect you! Just look at all the safe schools ar-oh....

    April 15, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Greg

    FOX News looks better and better...Fair and Balanced unlike CNN which just keeps pushing an agenda

    April 15, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Mark

    So, a generalization about all foreign students is being made due to a discussion with some Japanese official?

    I suppose the 27% devaluation in the yen to the dollar in the past year has nothing to do with the rate at which Japanese students come to the US...or the continued increase in college tuition to pay for bloated administrations that are at most colleges. Must be guns! Yes, that makes sense.

    CNN, try something new- report news, quit spewing propaganda!

    April 15, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. KH

    I lived in Japan for 15 years. This is absolutely true.
    I would be rich if I had a nickel (or 5 yen) for every time someone asked me about guns.
    There was a high profile shooting many years ago where a trick or treater got killed on Halloween by an overzealous homeowner. This kind of 'accident' is incomprehensible to most of the world.
    The US attitudes about gun ownership are completely out of whack with the rest of the world.

    April 15, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Alex

    They have more chances of getting struck by lightning in the year they are abroad...and 3 times more likely to get raped robbed or mugged overseas....if this is what worries them, it's best they stay at home, we have enough stupidity going around here as it is.

    April 15, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Charles

    Funny, my foreign classmates asked me to take them shooting. They had a lot of fun

    April 15, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. steve

    Yes Anne it is!!! It happens to be one of our rights whether you think I'ts weird or not. When you come here you need to respect and obey OUR laws and rights. If you don't like then move back to wherever or move out if you are from here and see just how much americans are disliked everywhere else. But please don't come back whedon'tn need your kind...

    April 15, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. jesse

    I find it amusing Kerry could say this would a straight face. Over the last several years CNN has ran stories covering foreign students committing murder across dozens of college campuses as one poster mentioned Virgina Tech. Also there are several stories of foreigners killing their daughters for honor killing in the US. So lets see random violence is more scary than your father or brother killing you because went on a date? Ok Mr. Kerry.

    April 15, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Harry

    I think the fact that there were only 582 homicides in the ENTIRE nation of Japan is very telling. We have problems and it is GUNS and idiots with GUNS.

    April 15, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Wildman

    Kerry scares me. He looks like he has been dead for years. If I were a foreign student, his looks would carry about as much influence as his message reagarding firearms in America.

    April 15, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Tracy

    let them go to school in their own countries!

    April 15, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. jharry3

    Japan had 582 homocides total with 11 by firearm?
    Clearly a totally disingenious statistic.
    FBI stats say that in 2011 728 US murders were by "hands and feet".
    I would say the US has a lot of people with anger management issues who would just as soon beat people to death with their bare hands if a weapon were not handy.

    April 15, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. KH

    The US has a gun problem but it also has a violence problem. Japan has about 100 million people, the US has 300 million. If per capita murder rate in the US was the same as Japan, there would be only 1600 or so murders every year, by gun or otherwise.

    Americans are far more likely to not back down from a fight. Having a gun or other weapon available just seals the outcome.

    April 15, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Marco

    Well if it wasn't for the overblown... YES I said and meant overblown instances of gun violence then the students would realize that unless you come here and partake in illicit and illegal activities you will be safe. The majority of all gun deaths over 78% involve another form of illegal activity such as gang-banging and drug dealing.

    April 15, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Harbin

    More people are worried about what stupid things that Kerry is going to do than about any violence in the United States. But, if people are scared to come to this country, for what ever reason, let them go somewhere else.

    April 15, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Nutz

    OK. Let's turn our guns in everyone.

    April 15, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Brain

    Awe poor students, "afraid" of guns...don't like our culture, than study somewhere else!

    April 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Zamir

    Someone forgot to tell KerryThat there are more students from other countries in United States right now than ever been

    April 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. cody

    WOW, PATHETIC! you can tell when a company is paid off to do interviews when the pose such a PERFECT question. no way did she ever com up with that question on her own. NO NEWS NETWORK SHOULD BE ON A PAYROLL OF A POLITICAL PARTY!

    April 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. cdub

    There is no propaganda here. This is fact. Most nations believe the U.S. is filled with gun crazy Americans that love to shoot people, and if you look at the past few months one can understand why. Japan only had 11 homicides linked to guns, Great Britain had less. Our nation is somewhere at the top of the list when it comes to gun related violence, and yet we are all so scared of a single black man taking our guns we don't even consider the possibility of still owning guns, but making it safer. We are blinded by hate and false rhetoric, and have been divided as a people to the point that even if we did need guns to protect ourselves from our government (or any entity) we'd probably end up shooting each other.

    April 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Kevin

    in other news, the US had 14,180 murders in 2008.

    April 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Taroya

    Good. Because we need to educate our own first.
    And, after these foreign students graduate, they take American jobs, and not the minimum wage ones. Then they send their money back to their home for their younger sibling to do it too.
    We need to start improving conditions for Americans; the foreigners can fend for themselves.

    April 15, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Goblin King

    Good, if they're scared, let them stay in their own country. Everyday CNN becomes less of a news organization and more of a shill for the DNC.

    April 15, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Maribeth

    They can go to the countries where heads are lopped off at the drop of a hat. Let's educate our own first.

    April 15, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Brain

    Awe poor students, "afraid" of our guns. If you don't like our culture than don't study here! We are not going to change our values just we can give you a false sense of security!

    April 15, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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