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. Sheila

    So let them get an education in their home country. End of problem.

    April 15, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. Jim

    From the information given, this is an illogical conclusion. Good thing he wasn't elected. He's our Secretary of State. God help us!

    April 15, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Mad

    Come on Kerry wake up to what's really important in the world!!

    April 15, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. theINDEPENDENTone

    Foreign Students come here and blow up Americans and Kerry is concerned Guns scare them?? Oh Jeez.

    April 15, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. jerpell

    Guns scare foreign students....GOOD!...I thought schools were gun free zones.....Isn't there a law for that.....So how them gun laws working?

    April 15, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Natch

    I have a two word response, for anyone coming here from another country, who feels scared of our guns: STAY HOME!!

    April 15, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. Brandon

    It's because whatever country they are coming from the citizens do not have guns, China, Russia, England, and the government treats there people more like crap. If they don't like it, then don't come here.

    April 15, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  8. Dave

    Easy solution to that problem, Stay Home.

    April 15, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  9. lorenjay

    I say good. Keep em at home. Aren't most of terrorist here on student visas?

    April 15, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. chris

    Maybe numbers are down because our schools are too expensive and not the top in the world any more also????

    April 15, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. TCshore

    Mr Kerry , with all due respect does the song not end " the home of the BRAVE "

    April 15, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Silly Kerry, he thinks 'Muricans care what book learnin' foreigners think.

    April 15, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Fred Philibert

    Are you kidding me? Tell them to go home. Let them go home to Switzerland, where every military age male has a government issued machine gun. Let them go back to Russia or Pakistan or Peru or Indonesia or Brazil where the murder rate is more than double or tripple the murder rate of the US. Maybe then they won't be so frightened.

    This is a nation with over One Hundred and Fifty MILLION law abiding gun owners. Accept it, or get out.

    Kerry, please, try to remember which country it is you represent... even as you tour the world with your machine gun toting body guards.

    April 15, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. DeepintheHeart

    Well, there are a lot of things about their culture that scares me, too. Man up, get used to it.

    April 15, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Tim

    Foreign students scared of guns? I'm scared of foreign Saudi terrorists.

    April 15, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. Hopey Changey

    Good. Let's educate our own students first

    April 15, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. Hmmm.

    After today, I am not so sure that guns are what I would be afraid of.

    April 15, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. dbdy

    If you don't like it, don't come to school here. It is as simple as that. We are not going to change our environment because you feel unsafe. This is OUR COUNTRY, not yours.

    April 15, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Paul Krolowitz

    CNN SHAME ON YOU John Kerry did not say foreigners are afraid of guns! Your editors are objective and should be released so they can practice subjectivity at FOXNEWS or the New York Times

    April 15, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. Hmmm.

    What are runners from other countries afraid of? Kerry, focus on the real threats you Deputy Dawg faced, swift boat captain.

    April 15, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. Blog Man

    @tr – skydiving scares me and kills people. Should we outlaw that as well? Don't get me wrong, guns do make me nervous as well – which is why I don't own one. However, I believe in people's right to do what they want as long as it's reasonable, and most gun owners are reasonable. We need to make explosives laws now, though. Oh wait, the Boston Marathon incident was illegal, too – yet it happened. Honestly, our only recourse is to go back in time and uninvent guns, but humans will just find other ways to kill other humans. Who knows – maybe the result would be more deadly without guns?

    April 15, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. Cnederbr

    Hey foreign, students if you're scared, don't come visit. I don't visit some of your counties for the same reason. This is America, we protect ourselves.

    April 15, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. dbdy

    Ok, I am a foreign student coming to your country, let's say Britain. I am complaining that I don't feel safe because I can't carry my .40 cal H & K for personal protection. Will the government of Britain change their laws to enable me to feel "safe"?

    I hardly think so. So if you don't feel "safe" here with all the guns available then choose another country to get your education from. Oh, and get a spine while your at it too.

    April 15, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  24. dennis

    Mr Kerry,

    Please concentrate on something that you know something about....... perhaps sailing?

    April 15, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  25. Paul Krolowitz

    And if we take your headline for fact Where on earth could foreigners ever feel safe? Maybe Mexico... Or Brazil,,, or Israel,, or Russia, maybe France ,,,, maybe Syria or Saudia Arabia,,, or Congo or Rwanda,,, maybe the Foreigners will feel safer in a place where slaughter occurs with a club!

    April 15, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
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