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. Brian P

    No foreign students? And this is a bad thing?

    April 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. mydogsays

    If you don't like our Constitutional rights then stay out of our country! I smell total BS in this story. Ask former CNN journalist Amber Lyons how CNN gets paid to promote BS government propaganda. She's an ethical journalist. That's why she left CNN.

    April 15, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Ancient Texan

    Thought Kerry had a challenging situation in N. Korea to worry about, now he's joined the anti-second admendment crowd and adding some more drama to the conversation.

    April 15, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Boopity boop.

    Funny.. I come across a number of exchange students... None of them have had a problem with my open carry yet. Including the one from Japan who has caught an eye for me it seems. She's asked all sorts of questions and wants to go to the shooting range. For a place that is so restrictive on gun laws... it sure does look like they have a lot of murders, and with guns at that.

    April 15, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. DougJ

    Awesome, another embarassment for the U.S. I can't blame anyone for being concerned for their children coming to our country. Our level of gun violence is unmatched. When children are gunned down in the rest of the developed world, it causes an outrage, but in the U.S., it's just another day.

    April 15, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Marko

    If foreign students do not come here for college, that's just fine by me. It leaves a spot for a deserving American that might not have otherwise been admitted.

    April 15, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Jayakumar

    IIt is true. I lived in India all my life, and never saw this much gun violence in my entire life. Many of my colleagues with Ph.Ds preferred to go to Europe and this was one factor that helped them decide. I have probably heard about more gun deaths in one week in the US than I have read about in Indian news channels in a decade. Gun related deaths in the US is out of control and scary.

    April 15, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. truth hurts but reality bites

    Well then by all means, we need to do whatever it takes to make these foreigners feel comfortable in OUR country! Repeal the 2nd Amendment. Anything else we can do? Maybe pay for your education? Free healthcare? Wouldn't want to be considered unwelcoming to the world now would we?

    April 15, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Jake

    And here come the gun fetishists and right-wing conspiracy nuts...

    April 15, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. yechezkel

    ONCE again the LEFT find a way to "BLAME" the US for the reason the foreign students aren't coming to America. Come on!!
    Enough of blaming America. Maybe that's why they don't come to CHICAGO the VIOLENCE capital of the world. BUT NYC and basically every other state is safer today than in the last 50 years!! Kerry needs to step up as an AMERICAN and tellt e foreigners and those mothers that the US is very safe and as in all countries that have democratic values and freedoms, you will always have some unforeseen tragedies. THEY ARE NOT THE RULE OR THE NORM! Kerry wake up and defend your country!!! OR GET BACK HOME and hide yourself!

    April 15, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Greg Clapton

    GOOD! Stay away!

    April 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Greg

    The reason this is a problem is because Americans receive such a poor primary school education that we need foreigners to fill our graduate schools here. I work in a biology lab at UPenn and it's 95% foreigners. It's a rare American that survives the program. Since we can't raise smart people here, we have to import them. A large percentage of these people stay here and go on to work in our high tech industry. Without importing educated young people we will be out of business in no time. Other countries hate us for our ability to attract away their smartest young people. They call it the "brain drain". Haha I say.

    April 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Mike

    Good. Let them stay home. Who cares!

    April 15, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. just sayin

    usa is too scary for you foreign students? might i suggest you go study in cuba then? i hear they control guns quite well there.

    April 15, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. ryan

    Never mind that Violent crime in the US is going down.

    April 15, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Avishek

    Second Amendment is for Militia not for civilian...........to all gunholders..........how would u feel if ur loved ones be killed by one of these guns...........

    April 15, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. rubes

    Another plus for gun-rights!! Don't understand why the US needs to educate so many foreigners anyway?

    April 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Greg

    Good! More openings for U.S. kids!

    April 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. David

    Here in northern California gun killings are common daily. Oakland at over 200 Vallejo every day someone is shot. Gangs are rampant will bullet holes everywhere. They are best to stay out of our ghetto's.

    April 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Mark

    I'd be more afraid of getting a sub standard education than being a victim of gun violance.

    April 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Pumpkin Eater

    It's not only students that are afraid to come to the US. It's tourists, and tourism is a big part of the economy. If tourists and children don't feel safe in the US, what does that say about the country?

    April 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    That's scary. Immigrants built this country from the ground up, so if they're not going to come to this country to share their knowledge, we're doomed. I just wonder what our healthcare system would be like if all the Asian doctors were to pack up and leave. We'd probably have malpractice suits every day and alot of dead patients too.

    April 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. BS

    Gun crime is the lowest it has been in decades.

    April 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. RAM

    Good maybe less foreigners will come to this country

    April 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. FireTwoSeven

    Good. That's good. You don't want to come, stay home and work in your own country.

    April 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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