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. johnharry

    this is MERICA, let them study at home. MERICA

    April 15, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    I wouldn't be worrying about guns right about now...maybe those illegal bombs going off might have Democrats start drafting bills outlawing bombs...oh wait a minute, never mind bombs are already illegal!!

    April 15, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. PR

    So we don't have as many foreign students. Who cares...no loss. We don't need them here. They get their education and then decide to stay here taking US jobs. FOREIGN STUDENTS GO HOME!

    April 15, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. raenanda

    Its scary that there are people out there that are afraid of inanimate objects. Really scary.

    April 15, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Jerry

    Islam scares me... what is Mr. Kerry going to do about that?

    April 15, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Ghostonefour

    GOOD! Less people that blow the curve for us real Americans! Make all campus's open carry campus' and we can have some more Americans getting honors with their degree.

    April 15, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. wildbill

    have them stay home and study.don't u think americans go to another county to study that they are scared too.its call life.deal with it!!!

    April 15, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Ghostonefour

    How many people go to Saudi Arabia to study? How many go to China to study? How many go to Russia to study? I think we'll manage fine with guns compared to the rest of the world.

    April 15, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Allison Powers

    They just need to stay out of gun free zones, which is where most of the violence occurs.

    April 15, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Dean

    The number of posts stating that foreign students should not study in America due to the perception of gun violence is ridiculous. Why do they have this perception? How can we convince them that this country is safe? I have heard people reluctant to come to the US due to stories about our health care system. A "Love it or leave it" mentality is certainly univiting, if not immature.

    April 15, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Wes

    This is the UNITED STATES where we own guns. You foreign folks are welcome to NOT come here for your education, or at all, if you fear our armed society. We will not give up our personal right to own guns because the rest of the world has done so. Guns in the hands of American Citizens won the free, democratic society we live in and will guarantee it stays a free democratic society!

    April 15, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Hanoi Jane

    Kerry, a traitor at so many levels. Even worse than I.

    April 15, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Pres

    Not sure why everybody in the US requires guns. Absolutely insane.

    April 15, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. KawiMan

    Good! Stay out of our country.
    We have too much immigration as it is. I won't be hanging-up my guns for anyone's sake.
    We need to take care of our own FIRST!

    April 15, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Mike,Albany

    For all those who are recommending that foreign students not come here if they do not like our guns, keep in mind that American students are too stupid, uneducated, and poorly trained to work in areas that matter such as science, math, and engineering. These fields thrive on participation by students places like China, India, Iran, Russian, and eastern Europe. Without their participation - if we have to rely on students coming from the American education system - our R&D would be doomed to failure.

    April 15, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. truthmachine74

    Then have them go somewhere else!

    April 15, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Flagrate Delicto

    So, we can send all those Dream Act aliensback over the border?

    April 15, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. Ray

    Good that they're scared.

    April 15, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. Crishna

    What students abroad are scared of guns? That is absurd! Is Kerry trying to make more of a mockery out of our government?
    Students abroad are use to guns and are comfortable around guns, because their parents and teachers in their school carry them, and their government supports guns carried by the citizens.
    You only hear about gun violence in schools from countries who have these "anti gun laws."
    I still don't hear any valuable solutions to the criminals having guns. Stricter laws for those who care to follow the law is not going to prevent those who don't follow the law. It is only going to leave people defenseless. I don't have a gun to hunt I have it for self preservation.

    April 15, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. james

    with 30,000 gun deaths per year still not enough to change the public's views about gun violence, how many more must die before anything will be done?

    April 15, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Dean

    Guns did not and do not make America great. It is the intellectual capital of many cultures that has made this country
    great. Judging from the tenor of many of the posts, it looks like we need more foreign intelligence rather than less.

    April 15, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Will_NOT_Give_My_Rights_Away

    I'm more afraid of this guy than guns....

    April 15, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Ron

    Currently US students are getting edged out of programs due to the cash cow foreign students, this not only harms US students but creates issues with the economy since the US has less skilled workers.

    Perhaps as a first step of reform ant foreign student wanting to study in the US has to learn about how the US is different than their country and how as a guest this is their problem not ours

    April 15, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. MP1960

    Foreign students scare me, regular creep show on campus.

    April 15, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. Stacy

    Seriously?? In other countries, 10 year olds are running around with AK-47's!! Give me a break Kerry. I know you are desperate to tow the party line, but at least come up with something better than this one.

    April 15, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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