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. James Everett

    The difference between our guns and their crime rate is not even on the same planet. They have a lower crime rate because for many significant reasons, one being that if you go to prison there, it is your family's responsibility to make sure you get food. and the prisons are all hard labor where you get one hour every 24 to sleep. and if your family is not providing money to feed you, you will be fed fish heads and rice. one thing that keeps getting over looked on all of this is that CRIMINALS use guns for violence, and people with mental disorders. I will use mine if it is to protect my family from harm. And if they are scared, stay home. it will not make any impact on us if they stay there

    April 15, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. joe

    The Democrats had the Republicans on the ropes and then they decided to push this anti gun agenda. I predict the democrats will pay big prices for this in the next couple elections. Just when you think the republicans are going to be relegated to obscurity count on Idiots like Obama, Cuomo and Kerry to give them life. If I am a democrat in a red state which there are many, I would plan my retirement.

    April 15, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Mike

    An awful lot of parochial views here regarding foreign students. We need as much talent as we can get to compete globally.

    April 15, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. 4real

    Really, really? So America should ban guns so students from other countries (including countries that would love to kill all Americans) can feel comfortable. This is typical liberal hysteria from a dbag. I can't even believe I have to comment on this nonsense. I guess these students would rather get blown to bits by suicide bombers and raped and assualted by thugs that can carry on without fear of getting shot. Stay home, that simple, stay home in your own country and get your education there.

    April 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Darwin

    Do US drone strikes scare foreign students too?

    April 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Paul

    Seems like there were some folks a while back that came to learn in America and ended up using what they had learned to fly hijacked planes! Stay and learn at home or go to one of the other countries that all foreigners think is so much better than America. If America is so bad and scary,whay do they want to come here in the first place?

    April 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Tom&Jerry

    GunNonsense you are making no sense, gun owners are trained, they do have registered guns, and they are responsible for thier guns. the only people that need to be trained are the ones that don't know what they are talking about i.e you!

    April 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. jonjon

    I never believe anything the government tells me...as far as I'm concerned if students are afraid of our culture which includes a right to bear arms, maybe they should stay home.

    April 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. AA

    So the foreign students can go back home and opine on their OWN laws. Kerry couldn't be more out of touch. He cares more about what foreigners think than his own people. SHUT UP.

    April 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Dgiz

    once again things are being blown way out of per portion to what they really are. As far as the 2nd amendment needing amending, No it does not need amending. The current laws need to be enforced and not just replaced with new laws that won't be enforced just like the current ones.

    April 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. The Truth Hurts

    Sure, Lurch – that's why the institution I work at turns away hundreds of foreign applicants each year... More unsubstantiated gun-control propagnda.

    April 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. Chris

    Those who want to change the amendment should just go live in Japan or anywhere else. Our Constitution is already being stripped piece by piece. Raise arms and live in civil disobedience like our heart leaders

    April 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. jonjon

    If you don't like the culture stay home.

    April 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. rvoter

    Who the gives a dang what thy think it's' none of there businesses what we do.Thy don't have to come here.

    April 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. nuclear mike

    Again...Kerry is repeating what he has been told to repeat via "The Analyst Group" for the behavioral brain-washing effect. Let the foreign students stay home who are afraid as I am afraid to send my kids to many foreign countries now due to their revolutions and Terrorists...
    With Gov. Cuomo calling all of us "extremists' now he will soon try to label abiding citizens as "American terrorists" thru "The Analyst Group" working out of the AFL-CIO building...
    Go start your war with Notht Korea for something to do to distract allof us away from our failing economy...not gun control!!

    April 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. Max in AL

    "...Out of a total 582 homicides in Japan in 2008, 11 were by guns."

    Where there is a will, there is a way.

    April 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Simon

    I'm sorry, shouldn't they feel safer here? Have you seen the suicide rate in Japan? And who really cares if foreign students feel safer here or not? It is our country and if you don't like it don't visit.

    April 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Jeff

    Funny, when I went on study abroad it was to experience another culture. It annoyed me to no end when American classmates couldn't understand they were no longer in America, that American values and lifestyles didn't hold, that American rights weren't respected where we were.

    If you don't want to deal with another culture, stay at home.

    April 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. Socrates

    They are right to be scared. There is a lot of gun violence here compared to other first world countries

    April 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. scott

    Thats a joke. Spin the agenda, thats all Kerry is doing. The only problem we have are guns that are in the big cities. 95% of the country is more safe because of guns, not less safe. The criminals in the inner cities are the problem. They will not obey the current laws or the new laws. Enforce the gun laws on the books and stop wasting time creating new legislation that will do nothing to prevent the violence. 15000 criminals illegally tried to obtain a firearm , only 15 prosecuted. There is the problem

    April 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. nilla

    "We sent one terioney packing and we will do it again foregn or domestic government."

    Of course, we did that after swiping this land from the people who were here first. Funny how that always seems to get glossed over.

    April 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Jim

    That's funny, I just saw a "poll" that most foreign students were afraid of John Kerry's wife.

    April 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. The Truth

    Thats ok, tourism is booming for foreigners coming to the U.S. for vacations centering around shooting weapons they can not own or use in their own country.

    If they are that scared they should go to a country with tight gun controls, like Norway. They are completely safe there with all its gun controls and regulations. Yep, its not like a single person killed 77 people in 1 day there. Or better yet Japan with its extremely high gun control, they should be completely safe there. Well,,, as long as they are not on a subway they should be safe, Japanese terrorists only gas subways. 17 died there with over 5,500 going to hospitals. Yep, no guns, very safe.

    April 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. Jim

    If they are affraid of our guns then have them stay the hell home!

    April 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. rs

    As someone who has had to deal with members of the public in a government workplace with guns ("this here gun is all the ID you need for my library card"), I can tell you it isn't just foreigners. This country (and Arizona in particular),simply has too many guns and too many kooks.

    To those of you who thinks it is good we lose $millions (if not $billions) in tourism- gad you're dumb!

    April 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
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