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. mc

    I guess I can understand the logic since the news shows campus shooting fairly often. I just don't think that is the case though. In my 4 years at a major university, I never even heard of a gun incident. I wonder how many people have attended college in the United States and I wonder how many have experienced gun violence? I bet the percentage is teeny tiny... like .0001%.

    April 15, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. b

    how about instead of worrying about what they want we worry about improving our own students working knowledge in math and science then we wont need foreign students...its asinine

    April 15, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Steve

    No one is making them come here, they have the option of studying anywhere else in the world including their own country. If we are so scary, please, stay home........hint hint Piers Morgan!

    April 15, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. mesfin birke

    One of the many logical reasons that we should get out of our 16 century mentality and start as well as live in the current 21st century is the above fact. To wrship Gun as the "alimighty" by many folks here in the states is the biggest puzzle to me.

    April 15, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. cantgetenoughwp

    Gun violence was much more prevalent in the early 90s in the US. We've just got more media that talks about it now. If it bleeds it leads!

    April 15, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Terry

    Well themn if they are scared stay HOME!!!!

    April 15, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. shuffler

    Well let them go to school elsewhere.

    April 15, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Jim

    What I think is funny is that the number of auto fatalities is higher than gun fatalities, but you don't see people freaking out saying we should stop driving

    April 15, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Richard

    Let those students go to some backward, extreme-law country and commit an extremely minor crime and then be killed (as punishment) for it! NO ONE IS MAKING foreign student come to the U.S. to study...

    April 15, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Binga Linga

    They may go home.

    April 15, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. ObjectiveGuy

    Bit of a stretch to try to push gun control, don't you think, Mr. Kerry??? I hear the North Koreans don't want us to have guns either. We had better get rid of them pronto, so that we don't risk offending anyone outside of this country!

    April 15, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Inspector Clouseau

    What's deterring many students are the crazy Visa requirements to get and stay here for their educational years. There are thousands waiting for Visa's – many more than those who may be scared of gun violence.

    April 15, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Unbelievable: I'd like to see some statistics rather than your opinion if you're going to to post things like that.

    April 15, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Bill

    FINE. Then they can go back home where there are no guns, and NO rights.

    April 15, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Basem

    You sure its not that big head of yours theyre scared of?

    April 15, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Matt

    Who cares what a non-US citizen has to say about what happens in this country?

    April 15, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. may40

    And this is why the Dems need the power removed from them. They are drunk with it!!!!!! They'll say anything won't they?!!!!

    April 15, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Doc Duo

    And what is your point moon face!
    It sure doesn't stop them from coming over the border does it?!!!
    So get your fact right then talk...

    April 15, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. notowar

    hahah.. they say it is guns, then they say later in the article it is because they want to stay home, talk about switching the story around.

    April 15, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Green Oak

    Kerry hasn't changed. He is still an arrogant fool.

    April 15, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Mentallect

    They scare American students as well.

    April 15, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Dudebro

    Half the foreign exchange students I've known were very curious about guns and would gladly try them out in a safe environment. If you aren't in a ghetto, the US is no more violent than any other first world nation. Kerry is blowing hot air.

    April 15, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Mentallect

    Guns scare American students just as much.

    April 15, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. David Junkins

    Freedom to those who do not know it can be "scary" freedom is not safety in many respects it is the opposite of safety.

    April 15, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    It doesn't seem to have scared the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here–and staying....

    April 15, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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