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. Scott

    What the hell does this have to do with anything? And when did "Foreign students" become a priority over US students? Is anyone in our Government actually doing their job anymore?

    April 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. Logic

    I live near and work at a major US university. I have never seen a gun, outside of the ones the police carry, on campus, ever. Hmm, they might be right to feat the police, but normal citizens? Nope.

    April 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. J

    Foreign students take a lot of money and spots away from US students. I have no argument here. Let them be scared and stay away. Foreign students should be the LAST concern of any official. As to the comparison, it is not the guns or the weapons issue that Japan has low crime. It is in the nature of the Japanese people. They are much more friendly and respectful than US citizens in general. I know and I've been there. We go to work sick and sometimes we cover our sneezes. Japanese people find it shameful to go to work sick and if they have to work, they wear masks as to not get anyone else sick. That is the difference, it is a huge caring for others, not gun control. Yes, Japan is safe, I've walked down the nastiest parts of Tokyo late at night, filled with crime families, yet I was never approached or even paid much attention to. I say again, it is not the guns, it is the culture. If we learned to be more polite and respectful in the US and it was actually glorified over the sociopath outlaw, then we would not have to discuss much crime. US citizens just need to understand that guns do not cause the killing.

    April 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. NameJoe

    I can live with that.

    April 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Davin

    Kerry should move to Japan so he'd be happier.

    April 15, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Josh from Virginia Tech

    April 16, 2007 a foreign student, Seung-Hui Cho from South Korea, killed 32 of my classmates and teachers. I will never forget that day, and I hope no one else does either. However, to say that foreign students are afraid to come to the United States for school because of our 'gun problem' is ludicrous. How about we talk about keeping mentally ill foreigners out of our country in the first place? Once their here, as long as it's legal, fine – but don't let them have a firearm. What nerve you have, Mr. Kerry.

    April 15, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Outrageous

    Americans get a lot of crap for not following the laws, traditions, and customs when they are guests in other countries...why does the world expect any special treatment when the reverse is true? I would ask people who don't respect our laws and our ways to please return to their point of origin and never come back.

    April 15, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Meki60

    I'm sure Kerry could run in the Ky Derby (as a horse, of course)

    April 15, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. G

    Good thing for us. Maybe we will have more room for AMERICANS to go to school instead of being turned down to to full capacity due to foreigners. If they don't like OUR WAYS go back home.

    April 15, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Garrett

    Most Foreighn students upon completetion of their Degree in the US leave anyways. Good, stay in your own country. I feel more secured when I'm aloud to arm myself. Your still more likely to die in a car crash than die in a gun massacer.

    April 15, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. girish

    It has been difficult to get guns in other countries and gun violence is not like USA.Here almost 3000 people die from gun violence either suicide /homicide/accident.Most of time gun is being used in home and loved one dies due to rage/accident/anger.So many times gun does not work for protection and does not need firearm /high capacity magazines used in army.NRA HAS SPREAD SUCH A PARANOIA, people has lost common sense.

    April 15, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. pete

    Really???? Fewer students are coming here because of guns.....doubt it, it's the quality of education that brings students. Kerry needs to concentrate on what his job is and nix the ad lib comments. Face it, our colleges have been 'dumbed down' so everyone has equal opportunity to contribute to university coffers. It's quality vs. money. Money has the upper hand at the moment. Students with the savvy to travel will go for the best education, it probably isn't here like it used to be.....

    April 15, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Woody

    This is hard to believe as you can get sub machine guns in Cambodia on peoples front porches, and if you go to Egypt just about everyone is armed . I never seen so many guns in other countries I have visited and the last time I checked there have been more wars in other countries rather than our own . You have a much better chance being killed overseas then here . In places like Saudi Arabia they just cut your head off for little more than speaking out against Mohammad . Please give me a break ! More people are killed because of religious beliefs . "Lets outlaw religion as more people are killed over religion than anything else " !

    April 15, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. MikeMongo

    If they don't like it, they don't have to go to school here...after having been to many countries through my service years, I can tell you THEIR countries are generally far more dangerous than anything they might encounter here...who cares what foreign students think of the US? It's OUR country.

    April 15, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Timbuck2

    Then let them stay in their own countries and go to school!

    April 15, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Ed

    Good! Let them stay home where they belong. More seats for Americans in classrooms.

    April 15, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Mike in SA

    And of course in CNN's tradition of awesome journalism (please not sarcasm), Jill Dougherty didn't challenge Sec. Kerry by noting that gun crime has plummeted in the US over the past 15 years or by noting that fewer Japanese students are going anywhere abroad. Instead CNN allows this baseless and blatantly politically motivated statement stand.

    April 15, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Fernando

    Japan's intentional homicide rate by all methods is .4 (per 100,000 inhabitants) while that of the United States is 4.8 meaning a person is 12 times more likely to be murdered here than in Japan. Most of the disparity is explainable by the relative absence of guns in Japan. Pro-gunners spin that you're more likely to die of suicide or a non-gun caused homicide, in Japan, or that white society's gun violence is comparable to that of Japan, but they're incorrect on virtually every argument they pose. I find it particularly laughable that many argue that they should stay home if they don't like American guns seemingly oblivious to the article's central point that they are. That's as illogical as me arguing that pro-gun people should live up to their ideals and actually own a gun.

    April 15, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Dave C

    Why do we care? If they don't like our laws, including the Constitution, they can stay in their own country!

    April 15, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. eleridge

    The data he is quoting is nearly 20 years old.

    April 15, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. Craig

    I'm a canadian who studied in the states and found that they love to use the word " are you looking to get shot" in Canada we say you wanna fight? Big difference of how weak some people are.

    April 15, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Gene

    Yes, just on time: the daily CNN anti-gun piece.

    April 15, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Conservativeguy

    Yeah..... It works, it works. Who want them to come here, learn our ways and our weaknesses, steal our technology then return to their country (like China)? Let them stay in their own countries. Be afraid....be very afraid.

    April 15, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Amazing! LaPierre is as scary to foreigners as Jung un! That's right, the NRA is a global deterrent!

    April 15, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    They're scared because our govt and media mouthpieces make them frightened with non-stop gibberish.

    April 15, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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