South Korean authorities are considering exempting members of the ‘k-pop’ music group BTS from the two-year compulsory military service and the opposition has proposed an alternative service as a possible formula. The Ministry of Defense has refused to make an exception.
“South Korean pop celebrities active internationally make an unimaginable economic and social contribution. I believe pop celebrities could make important contributions to the country such as promoting the 2030 World Expo bid in Busan as an alternative to military service,” said MP Kim Young Bae, as reported by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
Kim is the head of a new bill that provides for those who have received the Order of Merit awarded by the government to be eligible for alternative service to military service.
A Realmeter poll conducted at the request of the South Korean National Assembly’s Defense Committee shows that 60.9 percent of the population supports revising the law on compulsory military service so that celebrities, such as members of the band BTS, do not have to do “military service.” 34.3 percent were against changing the law.
The current regulations only exempt world-class athletes or classical music performers from military service. All other men between the ages of 18 and 28 must undergo these two years of military training.
The oldest of the BTS members, Jin, turns 30 later this year, so once the extensions are exhausted he should join the ranks.