BTS Military Exemption Should Be a Priority, The Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Insists

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BTS is yet to reach clear information about their military service’s exemption in their home country, South Korea.

The conscription that urges all male citizens between 18 to 28 to do compulsory military service has existed since 1957. Even K-pop idols are not exempted from serving in the military in the country.

However, the South Korean government and cultural organizations have been talking about relieving BTS members due to the group’s contribution to the country’s economy in the past years.

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As of press time, the Military Service Act is only for athletes and sports personalities who represent the country globally.

Amid the unclear status of the act on BTS’ side, the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism insisted that the supergroup should be served with the exemption as soon as possible.

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BTS Earns Support From the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism

Minister Hwang Hee of Culture, Sports, and Tourism held a press conference on Wednesday at the government complex in Seoul. It occurred six days before the new government’s inauguration.

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He insisted that there should be a related debate to finalize the military service exemption for the group members.

Minister Hwang Hee explained:

"Today's pop culture artists have no choice but to suspend their activities due to the fulfillment of their military service obligations despite their achievements in raising national prestige, and this is a clear national loss. It may be unfair that pop culture artists are not given such an opportunity (special military service). I thought someone had to raise their voice to make a clear stance in regard to the pros and cons that were being discussed about the BTS members enlisting,” directly referring to BTS.”

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BTS’ eldest member, Jin, was supposed to be enlisted already. But it has been postponed until the end of the year due to the Minister’s recommendation to defer it under the Military Service Act 2020.

The Ministry of National Defense and the Military Manpower Administration opposed the idea and asked the National Assembly in November to review the suggested enforcement ordinance.

However, it would still take them six months before the law is amended to endorsement. With that, the National Assembly should decide this month in order for Jin to benefit from the act.

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Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism To Work With Other Ministries

Before the new government begins, Minister Hwang Hee called the attention of the National Assembly and asked them to pass the amendment through an agreement as soon as possible.

In return, he pledged to closely consult with different ministries, including the Ministry of National Defense and Military Manpower Administration, to create fair standards of benefit.

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"(In order to receive the special treatment), it is necessary to be at least this level, and in fact, the hurdles are very high," he added, "It is difficult for a person who has less than 10 to 15 years of experience to receive a presidential medal or award.”

He then asked BTS and their agency to participate in the social contribution to convince people amid the opposition.

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