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. Jmaz

    Considering U.S. "public" universities are increasingly impossible to afford for middle-class Americans, this may be some good news. Maybe now, university presidents and Boards of Regents will stop subsidizing foreigners while raising rates on American students. Thank God for that.

    April 15, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Jaun

    This is a complete non-issue. Just the usual agenda driven by the usual party hacks. And spun as news here.

    April 15, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Diane

    And this is a bad thing??????

    April 15, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. AnotherAnnie

    Who cares what foreign students think? Are we leaders for followers?

    April 15, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. DDBigtime

    And as we all know if there's a way to make the interests of anyone other than American citizens the priority John Kerry would find it.

    April 15, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Taylor D

    Liberals. It is all about money and how much we can get from foreign study abroad students. If they do not want to come… Who cares?

    April 15, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. BJoyce

    Ya'll need to remember that the rich international students attend the universities without aid, and more or less fund the larger universities. Yes, we can just not care if internationals come, but we will also have to not care that our higher education system will become laughable. All the best minds will teach (and research) elsewhere where they are not so exceptionalist.

    April 15, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. socalgal

    Boo hoo...what they should really be afraid of is the empty suit and cohorts in the Oval Office administration.

    April 15, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. noel

    Then take your little butts right back to your 3rd world paradise!!! Gun control means hitting your target!!!

    April 15, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. mike

    See.Having gun are working.Im glad there not here or wanting to come.

    April 15, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Alex

    This is about culture of guns and not physical guns. Just the way we have perception of another country's culture, other country's develop perception about the US based on what they see, hear and understand. Currently, all they read about is the senseless gun violence in this country... they also read about the amazing innovation that happens in the US Universities. However, the formal seems more life threatening, although statistically one is as likely to get shot by a gun as being stuck by lightening probably. So, have no fear, come to the US, build careers, build companies that can create better solutions to prevent gun crimes.

    April 15, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. bribarian

    this is a good thing, we dont want them here

    April 15, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Brian H

    One of the jobs of a politician is to set an example for the people they work for, the voters. If John Kerry and other hypocrites like him are so hell bent on tougher gun laws, maybe THEY should get the ball rolling and disarm their own personal security first. Why do they have the right to protect themselves but not the people who put them in such a position of power?

    April 15, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. Grumpster

    Horse-face Kerry needs to calm down. People are scared of lots of things...guns, violence, religion, boogey-men, the devil, mayonnaise that has gone bad....it is just a reaction to things they know nothing about. For someone who has handled them for a generation, they are not scary. Education takes away the fear.....Kerry would rather spread the fear. This coming from a liberal who owns guns....Kerry....you're barking up the wrong tree.

    April 15, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. nwgunslinger

    Let them stay in their own country then. We don't seem to have the capacity to educate our own.

    April 15, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. metalhead65

    wow I am so upset that about this.imagine the horror of actually staying home and studying instead of going to a foreign country and do so. if they don't like our culture then by all means stay there and stop trying ram your culture and ways down our throats!

    April 15, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Spgfld Tom

    Kerry is a weenie. This is a typical elitist liberal comment. Hate to say it, but I miss Hillary (she can openly lie with semblance of conviction). I have known international exchange students over the years as friends of my sons. They were all enchanted with the U.S. because of our freedoms and open society. I worked in the Philippines for years and never once did I a word about gun violence from the people who I worked with (although if you mentioned Chicago they all would make a rattatattat machine gun sound – gee, I wonder where they learned that?). Everyone single one of my employees would give up everything to move to the U.S.

    April 15, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Unknown11

    There is less gun violence now than most points in the past. If dems would quit trying to make things look worse than they are for their own political ends, then maybe the students would be less scared.

    April 15, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. snomannn

    Sounds to me like the foreign students are a heck of a lot smarter than we are. I'm scared too. Look at all the gun violence on college campus'....you seriously think that makes a mom or dad feel good about sending their child to school?

    I am sick and tired of all the shootings and killings. I don't care about your gun rights any more, why should I, you obviously don't care about my right to live.

    April 15, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. John

    Well I have news for you, Mr. Kerry. Domestic students are afraid of guns as well. With every passing day, another news headline rolls out that someone on a university campus or other school setting has been shot.

    But of course it's important to firmly believe the NRA's challenge that it has absolutely nothing to do with the overwhelming access to any type of gun imaginable. It's all about the people. Not the ones with half their teeth and children spilling out the windows of their mobile home who scream that their "dang gun riiiiights is bein' taken from 'em by that there dern uppity prezeedent Obamer" but the ones who suddenly snap and go on the rampage. The argument continues to be why guns are restricted from people who aren't nuts.

    If you put a poison well in Times Square, people are going to drink from it, including those with apparent common sense otherwise together with those who demonstrate the entire absence of the characteristic. That's not a problem with people, but a problem with access. Sometimes to you have prevent everyone in order to capture those you're trying to reach.

    April 15, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Tim

    This guy is an idiot

    April 15, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. Fake

    A fake story to push their agenda. Next they'll have Ms. Napolitano on stage saying that less people are crossing the border because of their fear of gun violence, then the FAA administrator and transportation secretary saying less people are travelling because of this. Just like the sequester stage show, where they had all the party officials/department heads saying what an inconvenience it will be, and blaming it on the republicans. They are all a joke, and no one takes them seriously anymore from crying wolf so many times.

    April 15, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Amy

    They scare me too.

    April 15, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. genengineer05

    Kerry is such a useless idiot – I'm actually ashamed that he represents the U.S. in any capacity. Foreign students are more likely afraid of imbeciles, like Kerry, running amok in the U.S., making witless comments......

    April 15, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Tim

    You know what else scares Foreign students? Americans

    April 15, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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