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. Distrust Authority

    Maybe no one with brains wants to study in the U.S. because there is nothing of value to learn here. Unless of course you want to major in "How to turn your country into a third world cesspool". You keep your students, we'll keep our guns.

    April 15, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Brendan

    BS they do not, at my university I took many international student out to shooting ranges and they loved it. The idea that because their countries ban guns that they universally have an irrational fear of them is a myth.

    April 15, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Christopher

    I wonder if China knows that the Japanese people are unarmed?

    April 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. mike

    Is the issue with guns or with the bad people who kill for no reason? Ok...11 homocides were used with guns...which means there were still 572 homocides.
    Thank God I live in the USA mr kerry where I have a right to defend myself...with a gun. Try changing the constitution. I dare you.

    April 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. John

    The comments are more accurate than the report; CNN is supporting the aadministration's attempt to push gun control, this time by bringing the SecState into it. Using every possible office to push the same agenda is a tactic that CNN ought to be savvy enough to recognize and reject.
    Sadly, when all your offices are in major cities- which generally lean left- then you lose touch with "flyover country"- which leans right. Journalists as a whole think they're centrist- and compared to their neighbors in New York or LA, they may be. But they are far left of the middle of the country, and refuse to acknowledge that.

    April 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Dave in DC


    I could care less if someone doesn't want to "study" in the US because they fell unsafe. Let them study someplace else.

    April 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Aerin

    This countries obsession, unhealthy fascination with guns is not shared by others abroard.

    We have become a caricature of culture.

    April 15, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Ken

    Why am I not surprised with this? Kerry...LOL... He was a JOKE before this appointment... Still is a joke. This nomination really confuses me. I can understand (not necessary like) the appointments Obama has made.. I really do.. But Kerry? Seriously? What on earth were they thinking? He is going to make the Obama administration a laughing stock.. Seriously you guys.. He is a buffoon. Funny thing.. CNN knows this as well.. Hence the paragraph further explaining it also might have to do with a poor economy.... *Chuckle, you think? *

    April 15, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Keel Hauler

    It's the criminals that USE the guns that should scare them. That's the problem we all face here, we don't keep anybody locked up.

    April 15, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. yippeeskip

    Anything and everything to hype the liberal agenda...Horse face should have been put out to pasture long ago. Totally useless.

    April 15, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Chick-a-dee

    Good. Maybe they will stay home instead of coming here, absorbing knowledge and skills and then taking them out of the U.S. to compete with us.

    April 15, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Socrates

    They are right, it isn't safe.

    April 15, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Gary

    Let them study somewhere else and stop displacing our tax-paying American students in classes just because they are exchange students.

    April 15, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. mike

    I've known a lot of students from Japan over the years. Exactly NEVER has this 'fear of guns' come up. To the contrary, many of my male Japanese students show a great interest in handling and shooting guns. Bogus story.
    Shame on CNN.

    April 15, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. Nick

    When did America become a 13 year old melo-dramtic teenage girl?

    April 15, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Jaga

    Nice try CNN. Perhaps you should talk a little bit about Yakuza !!!!!

    April 15, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. FredGwynne

    If you mention our president by name when you post it has to go through moderation. Seriously??? How lame...

    April 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. Arvin Wevilin

    Solid, concise, objective.
    Uh, one of them mentioned ...
    Kerry is still sub-par. That is not going to change.

    April 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Kulafarmer

    I could care less what some foreign student thinks, this is our country and we have certain rights,, I would bet it is the dumb gang bangers in the cities that scare them, not the duck hunters, deer hunters, cowboy action shooters, tactical shooting enthusiasts, etc,, etc,, If our communist/fascist/socialist president and his appointed goons dont like it they can go join the foreign students somewhere else as well.

    April 15, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  20. Marcus Takatoa

    I'm sure the forced abortions, gential mutilations, suicide bombers, and drug cartels other countries scare our students as well. Consider us even.

    April 15, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. john wright

    So did our secretary of state say that the fears are irrational? No. US media and the anti 2nd amendment politicians are scaring people. The NRA isn't screaming the horrors of gun possession.

    April 15, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Name

    Good stsy in japan....this coming from the country raped china and south korea

    April 15, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Jason

    To the uneducated american who say "Who cares. Keep foreign students out of America!" Foreign students bring in about $70B, yes billion dollars to USA annually. That is creating a lot of work for american people. Many American universities would go bankrupt cause retards like you won't go to school!

    April 15, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. Padraig

    So they are scared, I think everyone has a concern over any violence. I believe there are other serious crimes such as drugs, rape, etc... going on in various college campuses.

    The problem is we are not providing our own students the opportunity for a higher education because of this "foreing invasion". The University of Washington would prefer to have more foreing and then out of state students who come from this state. The reason is money, they can charge more for foreign and out of state students. These students learn and then in most cases go back to where they came from. That is understandable but it doesn't help the students or the state here in retaining the best people. I don't have an issue with students coming here from other countries or states but for state run colleges they should be focusing first on in state students.

    April 15, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  25. Mark

    While i think Kerry is making more of this than is the case, the fact is admissions are down, and it is one part of a growing sense that it not safe to visit the United States – this is also reflected in convention data and tourism revenues – the wheels fell off the wagon and we have to fix it.

    April 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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