John Kerry: Foreign Students ‘Scared’ to Study Abroad in U.S. Because of Gun Violence

US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks to US Foreign Service workers during a ‘meet and greet’ visit to the US Embassy in Tokyo on April 15, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN Monday that foreign students are increasingly “scared” of studying abroad in the United States because of gun violence.

America’s top diplomat has been in Asia to confront North Korea’s increasing aggression but, speaking from Tokyo, he pivoted to American politics.

In “quiet conversations” with officials, Kerry said he has discussed “how safe it is over here in this country [Japan], where people are not running around with guns.”

He continued: “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.”

Watch the entire clip via CNN, below:

The number of Japanese foreign exchange students did indeed drop 14% from 2010 to 2011, according to the Institute of International Education, but Kerry might be attempting to lend international credibility to his party’s recent push for stricter gun control in saying “people running around with guns” is the reason.

Fewer Japanese students are studying abroad everywhere, not just the United States, and experts think Japan’s low birthrate coupled with the faltering economy are more likely causes, CNN adds.