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After Mass Shootings, Other Nations Issue Caution About 'Gun Society' In U.S.

Japanese tourists keep warm as they gather in Times Square in preparation for the New Year's Eve ball drop, on Dec. 31, 2013, in New York.
Japanese tourists keep warm as they gather in Times Square in preparation for the New Year's Eve ball drop, on Dec. 31, 2013, in New York.

Japan's foreign ministry is cautioning its citizens residing in the United States to be alert to "the potential for gunfire incidents" after a spate of mass shootings in recent days.

The concern came as at least two other nations – Uruguay and Venezuela — issued travel warnings for the U.S. in the wake of shootings in Gilroy, Calif., Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, where at least 22 people were killed and some two dozen others wounded in an incident that authorities believe may have been motivated by anti-immigrant sentiment.

"Japanese residents should be aware of the potential for gunfire incidents everywhere in the United States, a gun society, and continue to pay close attention to safety measures," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted earlier this week on the website of Japan's consulate-general in Detroit.

On Monday, Uruguay's foreign ministry issued a statement warning its citizens traveling in the U.S. "to take precautions against growing indiscriminate violence, mostly for hate crimes, including racism and discrimination."

It cautioned travelers to avoid places with large gatherings of people and cited "the impossibility of the authorities to prevent these situations, due among other factors, to the indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population."

Meanwhile, Venezuela has issued a similar caution for its citizens to postpone travel to the U.S. or to take precautions "given the proliferation of acts of violence and crimes of indiscriminate hatred."

The U.S. State Department frequently issues travel advisories for other countries, warning U.S. citizens to avoid travel to places with incidents of terrorism or lawlessness.

Although overseas travel to the U.S. has rebounded slightly since it took a dip in 2016, monthly data from the National Travel and Tourism Office show that from January through May of this year, overseas travel to the U.S., including from Canada and Mexico, has dropped by an average of 2.2 percentage points. The biggest declines come from countries in South America and Africa.
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