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. Bob

    When I see people say that a significant number of Americans do not want any restrictions (or licensing or registration) of guns, I say "who cares?". "A significant number of Americans" think New York City is the capital of New York, that cavemen rode dinosaurs, that 9/11 was an inside job, that we didn't land on the moon, that the U.N. is plotting to enslave us all, and that Newtown didn't happen. Before we give credence to the opinion that guns should be completely unregulated, we should know about their opinion on other issues and find out if they're really worth listening to or are from ignorant sheep who only watch Fox News (and don't realize that their only source of info is owned by a Saudi Royal Prince and a Aussie Billionaire- a couple of foreigners who only make money if the U.S. descends into chaos).

    April 15, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Benny

    That's fine. Open up the classrooms for more Americans. We really do not care about foreign students taking up space, benefitting from the freedoms we have, and reducing the number of spaces for our own citizens.

    April 15, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. jassy

    Kerry is just a rich boy elitist that is trying to enslave this country like the rest of the garbage in this administration. To even say this has to be the dumbest thing ever. Try asking that of students from Brazil. One trip to a Favela and coward Kerry would change his toon.

    April 15, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. dlloyd

    They should be more afraid of our substandard education system than our guns.

    April 15, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Joe

    So what's the problem again?

    April 15, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. DueDiligence4


    Many foreign cultures don't have freedom of speech or religion. Let's make sure we don't offend any foreign students there.

    Many foreign cultures don't have basic human rights... or equal rights for women. Don't want to scare those people off.

    CNN – have you NO BOUNDS on what you will print in your blatant all-out anti-gun campaign????

    April 15, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Raf

    I'm foreign and I love guns, Kerry, you are WRONG! I would be more afraid if you take away my guns!

    April 15, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Dusty

    As someone who has watched the gun debate but has stayed out of it, I have to say this is the stupidest argument either side has made so far.

    April 15, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Mike

    I feel the same, stay home in your own country.

    April 15, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Oakspar77777

    Media fuels this – since gun violence is actually down – but each shooting now gets much more coverage to feed the 24/7 news cycle monster.

    Still, our guns are our culture and our freedom – no tourist here has learned of the American experience without some time at the range (there are international tourism agencies that deal in such things).

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

    the media should not repeat the same story every few minutes for days. Just check how many minutes of time Sandy Hook has gotten. I don't think it deserves that much time. It has been on twice as much as even I would think was fair. I understand updates – such as who the judge is or if an important motion were filed but to just beat it to death every day is way, WAY overkill.

    April 15, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. JDalco

    Bull. what scares them is criminals and violent crime. Criminals will find a way, knife, gun, bat. . . stop blaming the object.

    April 15, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. PSB

    What a tool !!!!! Then tell Mr. Kerry to get Mayor Rahm on the phone and tell him you are going to send some Fed Money or the National Guard to solve Chicago's GANG PROBLEM. Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the Nation and the highest Murder Rate....................More Democrat Dribble

    April 15, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. bfd007

    Good now we American tax payers do not have to pay for their free schooling, here in the third world of South Florida the colleges are full of nothing but foreign students and yes have asked many of them if they are getting free schooling and most are. Par for the course Americans being bullied into paying taxes to educate other country's young people and not American's.

    April 15, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. heaven

    everybody is a bad person sometime in their life. no humans are perfect.a good man can turn into a bad man any time and can shho, if he has a gun due to anger and hate. a good man is not void of anger and hate because of human emotions and emotions can be directed wrongly. so, there is no such thing as bad man good man, as there is no such thing as a bad driver and a good driver.

    April 15, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Gary R

    Kerry remains a two-talking weasel.
    He says whatever is politically popular and whatever benefits his career.

    April 15, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. amimental

    If they're 'scared' then why don't they stay away? We sure as hell don't need them here. If they want to come, then come... no whining about how we do things. As for Kerry, he's a moron. It's not his fault, it's a matter of heredity and power tripping idiocy, but anything that comes from him is tripe. And usually dishonest as well. Screw him.

    April 15, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. WingNut

    Sounds like a problem for the overpriced colleges. Most of these people get an education then immediately return home.

    April 15, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. mandoman

    Whether "foreign students" are "scared" of guns is a "foreign student" personal problem – not ours! They can easily solve this problem by going back home – wherever that might be. "Scared foreign students" is not a problem we need to be focusing on at all!!

    April 15, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. dadvocate51

    Boohoo. Kerry should try caring about Americans for a change and our civil rights.

    April 15, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Mark A

    We don't want or need them here. If they are afraid stay home, we will keep our guns.

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

    Those who are saying 'who cares' or 'we dont want foreign students in our country' or 'let 'em go someplace else'...you have no idea what foreign students bring to this country...they are kind of the backbone of this country ...they had been for the past 10 years or so. First, they pay on average $20 grand a year for education purposes in the US...whereas an american only pays about $3000 to $4000...sometimes not even that. They are no eligible for those lottery scholarships or other federal financial aids that citizens are eligible for...so all that money comes from their home countries...so imagine...50000+ students ...each paying an average of $20000 annually on their education [that includes only tuition and living]. We are not even considering the extra they spend on shopping or tourism and stuff. So simple math ...50000 times 20000 per year. So, YES they are important for our education system to survive and for the economy. SECOND, most of these foreign students come here to major in engineering and sciences, or business or law. So, when they graduate they get a job in the best companies like intel, amd, cisco, ibm and the other technological companies which make our country powerful. Most of the kids from the US these days dont go into those majors...they go into majors like education, english, history, psychology and stuff, which can get you a decent life...but doesn't give a lot to the country's economy. So, before you start running your mouth about stuff you have no clue about, do some reading and get some education...important education and then make an opinion.

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

    Mr. Kerry,

    Your Job is Diplomacy not legislative matters, we could always call on Congress to reduce your department's budget on gun control in the Middle East

    April 15, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. dadvocate51

    Boohoo. Kerry should try caring about Americans and our civil rights. But, noooooo, it's all illegal aliens and others, doesn't care about us.

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

    I'm afraid of Muslims with bombs at Marathons.

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