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. Nicholas Smith

    What in the world does that have to do with free America, except that those blood sucking administration leeches are sucking for all they're worth!

    AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LIVE IN A COUNTRY WITHOUT GUNS: Go ahead, move to one of them. But if you want to live here, remember that your right to live freely here was won with the lives and blood of a legion of people with guns that fought and killed with those guns. In fact, they are still doing it. So quit complaining, quit trying to disarm the rest of us, and be happy. God bless and keep you.

    April 15, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Tighty Righty

    How about bombs at marathons....are they scared of those as well? Focus on the real enemy Mr. Kerry!

    April 15, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. kent

    if your scared then stay in your own country and go to school

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

    Student exchanges sow the seeds of peace and international understanding. Lots of people underestimate the importance of such programs.

    April 15, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. chad g

    Who cares? If your neighbor does not like cats do you get rid of yours? Or your guest does not like fish .. Go the hell home. This is mine !!!

    April 15, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Josh R

    Well if they are scared just keep them away from GUN FREE ZONES. AKA CHICAGO AND DC. well done guys.

    April 15, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. spencer

    I would be scared to go to the UK for schooling and not be able to protect myself , BUT , i am not aksing UK to change their laws. Who cares what foreign students want, stay where you are and dont come here

    April 15, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Ken

    Since when do "foreign" students have anything to say about US policy or our right to bear arms. Stay at home and deal with your own politics and Kerry, you are a blithering idiot to make a comment about that!!!! If you do not liike it here then go to Venesuela, or Iraq, or China, or Mexico, anywhere but here cuz we do not want you here.

    April 15, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Kathy

    So, by all means, let's negate the 2nd Amendment because of these frightened foreign students.

    Kerry is an idiot. I doubt whether the press in other countries pays nearly as much heed to the gun violence issue as our U.S. press does. You might even call the U.S. press the enabler that spurs these crazies into taking violent action.

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

    Well there is only one thing that stands between freedom and slavery and that is my gun.
    Remember The Alamo they chose to die fighting to the death and when they ran out of lead
    they clubbed the enemy with their guns. So if they don't want to come go back or don't come
    at all. My Liberty is not for sale or compromise we are the United States of America!!!

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

    Then stay in their own country.

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

    If they aren't smart enough to be able to tell the difference between the movies and the reality, and they can't understand basic statistics, they should stay home.

    When I visited the UK in the mid 90's, one of our tour guides was convinced that everyone in America carried a gun everywhere, and that gunfire was a routine part of everyday life. I don't know about any of you, but, the only place I have encountered gunfire is at a shooting range, in my 43 years in America.

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

    Some foriegn students scare me.

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

    Stupid article – just beacuse Kerry had a recent "discussion" on the matter doesn't make it scientific data. Show me the official survey results that would point to this and then MAYBE I would consider believing such a statement. Shame on CNN for reporting, just to further their own liberal gun-fearing agenda.

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

    Kerry has always been an idiot. He's a shill for his boss on the anti-gun campaign that the Obama administration is waging. Reality has no bearing on what these knee-jerk liberals will say. He's a punk who was proven to be a coward who got a couple of scratches in Viet-Nam and opted out as soon as he could. Plus...it is not unlike Obama people to denigrate Americans for their own purposes. Oh, and BTW, if foreign nationals are so upset, let them get that quality education in their own countries instead of taking up seats that American students could be occupying in our universities.

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

    pritamsaha the last 10 years you were brought here to work for a pitance and cheap labor you are not someone that has enhanced us you ahve diminished us and taken our jobs. I for one prefer you all from India and China go back and then stop all our outsourcing to you then let's see how long you last in the hands of a totalitarian dictator.

    Don't like it leave go home and improve your country instead of diminishing mine

    April 15, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. dinsdale

    OMG what a total lie. We have had several foreign exchange students live with us for the last 10 years. Neither they nor their parents (mind you these are 16 year old kids) gave that a second thought.

    April 15, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Ah! I see Mr. Kerry is back on the sauce again.

    April 15, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Ken

    OK, they spend $20k a yeara to go to school here and the US sends hundreds of millions of tax payers dollars to their country so what!!! If you are scared then stay home or go somewhere else!

    April 15, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. chris

    I think if we just limited our foreign students to those from Syria, North Africa, and Iraq there would be no fear at all.

    April 15, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. tunaman

    My son is in a MBA program with many foreign students. Every weekend that he comes home be brings some of these students home to visit. We take them to our local range and let them target shoot. Their favorite weapon is my AR15.

    April 15, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. rbnlegend

    If you are scared of all the shootings, you don't understand numbers. They make the news because they are rare. You are more likely to get hurt, or killed, at school, falling down the stairs than to be hurt, or killed, by an act of violence. But the news doesn't report on slip and fall accidents.

    April 15, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. MATTY13

    Here in Ohio, we have plenty of exchange/international students who have no problem with guns. This is a made up stat by all the anti-gun people.

    April 15, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Sane Person

    Time to start banning bombs. Bombs scare people, they must be banned immediately.

    April 15, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Jeff S

    I don't know why any country that we dropped two atomic bombs on would be scared to send their children to the US. Our guns don't seem to be scary enough to keep Mexico, which has some of the strictess gun laws, from having their citizens come to America. Why don't they use Mexico's gun laws and statistics to back up the gun bans? Oh yeah... It doesn't work...Oops.

    April 15, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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