The South Korean Ministry of National Defense may conduct a survey to determine if BTS shall be exempted from mandatory military service.
The group’s enlistment has been long debated whether the government shall give them an exception and let them follow the law. Until today, a decision is yet to be made.
BTS’s Enlistment Debate
The debate about BTS’s enlistment continues, especially now that its oldest member, Jin, is about to turn 30 at the end of this year.
Though the law only allows 18 to 28 years olds to serve in the military, the government passed a decree called BTS Law in 2020 to let entertainers who have made “great contributions” to Korean pop culture delay their service until they’re 30 years old.
According to AllKpop, Minister of Defense Lee Jong Sup ordered the officials to conduct a survey to help them determine if the group should have an exemption from military service.
However, this order caused controversy and created a stir.
The BTS Survey Controversy
Lee Jong Sup cleared in a statement that he asked his officials to see if a survey was needed to know the public’s stand on BTS’s enlistment instead of launching it immediately.
Officials were ordered to study details, like if the agency would be responsible for a survey, how long it would take, and their target respondents, per South China Morning Post.
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Lee Jong Sup also clarified that the survey would be conducted by a third organization and not by the ministry or relationship authorities to ensure fairness.
The result would be just one of the many factors determining if BTS would be exempted from mandatory military service.
The South Korean Military Enlistment Law
In South Korean law, all-bodied men ages 18 to 28 should serve in the military for 18 to 21 months. This rule is under the conscription system established to deal with threats from its rival North Korea.
The enlistment can’t be delayed after 30 years old.
However, the country exempts athletes, musicians, and artists who have won top places in international competitions, considering they have enhanced national prestige.
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With that said, some politicians and others have called out for expanding the scope of exemptions to include K-pop artists like BTS.
It can’t be denied that the group, composed of Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, have helped to up South Korea’s international image through their talent, success, and fame, making them a global phenomenon.
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