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. Terrageezer

    Who the HELL cares if they are scared – we don't need them over here anyway! Stay at HOME you are not welcome or wanted here in the USA.

    April 15, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Juan Ramirez

    Let's be serious!!! Focus on what really matters – this is absolutely a strong indication of what the Sec. of State should not be doing. Not at a time like this, get serious Mr. Kerry or step down from office!!!!!!

    April 15, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Sandman

    So they would be safer if we were all running around with knives? You want to see guns, go to France. The police carry automatic weapons. I would hate to see them used in a crowd.

    April 15, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. sprinrichard7@aol.com

    Maybe I'm scared of ritual genital mutilation. Maybe I'm scared of being burned alive and having it called a cooking accident. Maybe I'm scared of widespread genocide. And a bunch of other scary stuff that happens overseas.

    Maybe I'm scared of an administration hell-bent on disarming everyday Americans and buying enough ammo to kill each us multiple times over. Head in the sand? Pull it out long enough to identify the one responsible for your murder. HIs name may be familiar from the last time you voted.

    April 15, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. JMD

    Back in 2000, I had a friend in France who wanted to come to America to study English, but was afraid of the gun violence here. His fear was entirely based on American movies, not on any actual information. I felt far safer in the American cities where I have lived than I did in the French city where he lived.

    April 15, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Josh

    They are afraid because they are cowards. Americans are brave and strong. Gun culture runs through our veins.

    April 15, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. LC Moore

    Well I am just as afraid to go to school , say in the middle east because I am afraid of being blown up. Every country has it's violence in one way or another.

    April 15, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. JMOH

    And, we care about this because why exactly?! They can stay in their own country and get an education... didn't ask them to come here to go to school no more than asked them for their opinion on how to run our country!

    April 15, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. JFS

    I see that John Kerry has drank the Kool-Aid. What a ridiculous and embarrassing comment regarding a totally unrelated subject. I bet some foreign students are afraid to fly, too. Did John mention Delta?...

    April 15, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. tcc

    Mr. Kerry, have you forgotten who you represent? It is not even an argument that should be made. It is us, the American people for or againt gun control that you should be concerned about not foreign students.

    April 15, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Calista

    Right now (actually all the time) I think that Kerry should shut up. Why do we care what non-US citizens think? If they don't like the atmosphere, leave. I don't travel to countries I'm afraid of. Oh wait, maybe the US is a great place to be and Kerry is just trying to find another reason for more gun control. I love how politicians can manipulate any information to their benefit.

    April 15, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. davey

    I totally understand how concerned someone from Egypt, Libya, or any other waste of a third world world country may be.
    tthat this is an attempt by an ameatuer for whatever reason and will be remembered for about a week.

    April 15, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Ted

    Believe you and me, We are much safer without the foriegn exchange here. Why you may ask, take a look at job growth, these students come here use up our resources mostly for FREE because we are supossed to be the good guys and you know they say about the good guys. I`m glad their scared to come here now and maybe now the gov. will help our fellow americans to get an education and become productive in our new global world order.

    April 15, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Lonnie Carreau

    This is the same man who, in his bid to be president claimed, he had a AK47 that was a war trophy from his service in Vietnam and who did photo ops with a shotgun in a hypocritical attempt to win over the gun crowd.

    April 15, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Wallace Prince

    How do they feel about bombs?

    April 15, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. J San

    Gun violence on the US? Is Kerry aware that there were only 8583 homicides by firearm in 2011 and the numbers are falling. With 312 million people in the United States, the number of firearm homicides is low. The media is responsible for the portrayal of the United States as having a dangerously high rate of murders by firearm. Once and for all, this is simply an attempt by the media to paint a grimmer picture in order to sway public opinions on guns.

    April 15, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. April

    stay out, then. Stay in your own country and go to school there. I am an American citizen and having trouble getting financial aid to attend college. WE COULD CARE LESS WHAT YOU THINK!

    April 15, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. aswewere

    John Kerry Fonda never has cared about what Americans are afraid of or need or want. This piece of journalism is trash.

    April 15, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Pingn

    Funny. I thought it was the rapes, murders, drugs, and gangs that scared them. Some of the most dangerous places in the world exist outside the U.S. Places with stricter gun laws than us.

    April 15, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Michelle

    Keep talking Kerry-you stupid comments only make you look more like an idiot.

    When is this regime going to be overthrown

    April 15, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    If they are that afraid, they are welcome to stay away.

    April 15, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Sahar

    Foreign students have a great share in the american education. If you have a look at the statistics, international students accounted for 57% of full-time enrollment in U.S. graduate engineering programs in fall 2012. It doesn't mean that the schools had to accept a certain number of international students. It means that they were better applicants than US students. US should be proud of the fact that the best students from other countries join this country and even if they decide to stay that would be even a more valuable asset. These graduate students have professional skills (at least BS or MS degree) and their role as research assistant is like a full time job but with the salary of $18000 or less annually which is under the poverty line.

    April 15, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Langor

    Then they can do what I do if I'm scared of their country, I DON'T GO THERE. Sure as hell not changing my/our ways due to frigging foreign exchange students. Frankly not changing my ways due to foreign anything.

    April 15, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. J

    They shouldn't be scared of our guns. They should be scared of our abysmal violent crime rate. I imagine that our murder rate with all non-gun weapons is still orders of magnitude higher than their total murder rate.

    April 15, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Garad

    Why did CNN post this? How very pointless. Maybe if Kerry puts his foot in his mouth far enough Biden will get jealous since that is his job. Domestic issues fall on the S.O.S. now? Guns are a way of life in the rural areas of this country, where our parents did right by us and taught us to respect them. These cosmpopolitan city dwellers are scared of things theydon't understand and they are taking it out on us because so many of their fellow city dwellers are incapable of respecting firearms. I'll be sending my son to college with a shotgun, a rifle, and a four wheel drive.

    April 15, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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