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. Jeff

    Foreign student coming over here exploiting our education system then attempting to stay and press their home countries socialist policies on America scares me...

    April 15, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. 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 great leaders

    April 15, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. Matt

    So apparently outlawing guns don't stop violence or murders since Japan still had 571 homicides last year even with their restrictive gun laws. Maybe there's actually a mental aspect in why people are killing so maybe we should be focusing on that instead of taking away guns.

    April 15, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Jeffrey

    Funny, when I went on study abroad it was to experience another culture, good or bad. 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 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. James

    Lets put gun control in perspective by comparing two cities; Chicago and Houston. Chicago has the strictest gun laws, no concealed carry and zero gun stores. Houston has 84 dedicated gun stores and some 1500 shopping places from walmart to sprting good stores. Yet Chicago for 2012 had 806 homocides verse 207 in Houston. Based on per 100k Chicago has 28.4 verse Houstons 9.6. It would seem gun control hurts the honest citizens more as criminals find a way to get guns.

    April 15, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. John

    Only 11 deaths by GUNS in JAPAN. That says it all.

    April 15, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. CJ

    Blame the media for sensationalizing everything...

    April 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Chris

    I weep for the future. The 2nd is not negotiable and never will be. I personally will fight in whatever way necessary to protect the 2nd. Sure you'll stand up and defend the 1st, but when physical altercation starts...where do you go? The 2nd..that's right.

    April 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. tony

    I'll be happy to brandish my gun if its the answer to illegal immigration. In fact we need 0 immigration at this point we can't even handle the mexicans

    April 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. rs


    Statistics don't support Kerry's assertion. Homicides have dropped by half since the 80's when more and more states started allowing concealed weapons bringing down the numbers to less than 4K a year as of 2012.
    Yes, but they are still the highest by far for the First World nations. Stop parroting the NRA nonsense. 3,500 people are dead in America because of guns since mid-december, and we're well on our way to 12,000 gun deaths for the year. That IS NOT an acceptable cost so that a small minority of immature people can parade around with guns.

    April 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Chris

    Agreed with Dan. We bear arms to protect its from oppressive government. Our current government has overstepped its legal bounds already with The Patriot Act and the NDAA. Only time will tell when we have to raise arms again. #Keep your guns handy

    April 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. cBlock

    This is a joke. I'm in a Post-bacc program in a small private school, in a small southern town. There is an obviously high percentage of gun owners here too. We also have a high number of exchange students from Japan, South Korea, and some from Vietnam. I am a gun owner (not a rabid NRA member) who definitely believes in stronger gun control. But, at least use legitimate information to assert the need for that gun control.

    April 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Mike D

    Almost all the gun violence is from illegal handguns owned by blacks and latinos, go after them to solve your problem, the Japanese aren't scared of white middle class people with legally owned firearms, they're scared of black people in Philly wilding and killing Asians around the Temple campus every other week.

    April 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. CG

    Yes, this is true, I've heard it from many Japanese people. Heck, I don't feel safe in the US.

    April 15, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. Rembrant

    Who can blame them? In a civilized world one can go to school, the mall, the movies or walk down the street without an expectation of sudden death. Just because it is American culture does not mean it is good culture.

    April 15, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. JSmith

    Then don't come here.

    The government better get off this gun kick their on, just sayin

    April 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. Country First

    We have North Korea threatening and pointing niclear missles around. Increasing bombing and murders throughout the miiddle east and Mr Kerry is worried about the feeling of foreign students. Perhaps Mr Kerry they feel safer studying in Seoul or Iraq? What are we coming to?

    April 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Scott

    Key point. 582 killings, only 11 by firearms. So are you suggesting there would be more? 582 is a pretty high number. But also Japan also helped create martial arts because of banning woulds as well.

    I say, let them stay home. Then maybe colleges will do more to control costs if they can't soak foriegners.

    April 15, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Brad

    I agree, our family avoids vacations in the USA now because of guns and the rude US border guards. We try to spend our extra dollars where we feel safe and are treated like we are welcome.

    April 15, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. Brohem

    Good! Let them stay in their own country and get an education there.

    April 15, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. KG

    That's funny cause US military guns scare entire cities.

    April 15, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. The Real Tom Paine


    Good! How many of them have overstayed their visas and are here illegally? Let them go study in India since it is soooo much nicer over there! hahahaha....
    Yes. Of course. They must stay away. Can we ship Jindal and Haley out of here as well? They could run to be Governor of Kashmir, since they have a gun culture as well. Their training as fawning GOP members in a Red state will suit them well.

    April 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. Phil Fugate

    Here is a reason for gun nuts to chew on.

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

    April 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. BeverlyNC

    They should because in every other civilized nation in the world no one sees the need for guns. We have law enforcement, a military, and no longer need men for a milita from the 1780s when the 2nd Amendent was crafted. Yes, let people hunt, have gun sports, and for those who feel a need for home protection - have them. However NO ONE needs a military-grade assualt weapon, the same guns our law enforcement carries nor 100 round clips.

    We, which is the majority of the country, see no need for stockpiling guns, for being able to carry guns into public places, or the ability for anyone to own assault weapons. These are the weapons of choice for the massacres we have seen even since Newtown. It is absurd and defies logic and common sense.

    Why is it we have to take a driver's test, both written and a proficency test, to get a driver's license but NONE of this for having a gun? Why do we have to our car registered, have liablity insurance, and a renewal of both when guns only built for killing things have NONE.

    No one is going to take away anyone's gun (despite the NRA extremist fear and paranoia campaigns and threatening of members of Congress) any more than anyone is going to take away anyone's car – unless they break the law on the most basic of safety and registration requirements.

    Grow up NRA. It is not the 1780s.

    April 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Paratrooper_us

    If I were a foreign I would be afraid to come to the US as well, with all of the Liberal unrealistic hype of how bad it is in the US.

    April 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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