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Is BTS going to the army?

“The government needs to reconsider whether such a system is appropriate at this point, considering different aspects such as fairness, equity issues and public opinions.”

The issue of military service exemption for idol boy group BTS has been reignited. Lee Ki-sik, the new head of the Military Manpower Administration, said he would review the special military service system by collecting public opinions. While public opinion is sharply divided over whether BTS should be subject to military service exemptions, attention is being paid to the future as Commissioner Lee has announced to review the “military service exception” system, referring to the “lack of military human resources.”

Lee attended a plenary session of the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee on May 17th and said, “We have been constantly talking about how our military service environment and military service resources have hit a cliff,” and mentioned the need to review the military service exemption system.

BTS
BTS used to perform normally on Music Core.

When asked exactly what he means by “review”, Commissioner Lee said, “It is time to review whether to keep the supplementary service system intact. So far, the special military service system has gradually been reduced, and it has become a hot topic again due to the BTS issue. I think we need to gather public opinions and review the lack of military service resources from the biggest perspective.”

Under the current military service law, BTS will start enlisting in 2023. The current military service law stipulates that a person with specialties in the arts and sports field prescribed by Presidential Decree can be recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism to be turned into an art and sports personnel. However, this does not apply to pop culture artists such as BTS.

Jin, who was born in December 1992, originally had to join the army in December last year. However, under the revised Military Service Act last year, he applied for a postponement of his enlistment and will be able to work until December 31st this year. According to the revision, if a pop culture artist is recognized to have made a remarkable contribution to promoting national prestige and has received a cultural medal, he can postpone his enlistment until the age of 30.

BTS Jin military service

Some argue that BTS should be incorporated as an “art personnel” to receive alternative military service as they have reached major achievements such as No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard’s main chart for 12 weeks, “Artist of the Year” at “American Music Awards – 1 in the 3 biggest pop music awards in the U.S, and 2 Grammy Awards in a row.

Reflecting this public opinion, the so-called “BTS Bill” (Revision to the Military Service Act), which allows pop culture and art artists with high contributions to national interests, began its first deliberation at the National Assembly in November last year, but it was put on hold without a conclusion. At the time, an official from the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee said, “All opposition parties have come up with specific pros and cons,” adding, “Many suggested that more in-depth discussions are needed in consideration of public opinion which is sensitive to military service.”

In the meantime, Hwang Hee, former Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, urged for a military service exemption for BTS, saying, “Today, pop artists have no choice but to suspend their activities to fulfill their military service obligations despite their achievements in promoting national prestige.”

Netizens’ responses are still sharply divided. Some netizens are saying “BTS’ activity suspension due to military service will be a national loss,” while others are skeptical whether BTS’s national prestige promotion is as good as the national sport team, “It is unfair to exempt BTS from military service, as they don’t pursue the national prestige but for private interests only, and if BTS is exempted, shouldn’t the conglomerate family be exempted too?” “The duty of national defense should apply to anyone fairly.”

BTS

Meanwhile, BTS’s agency, HYBE, hopes that the revision of the military service law that is pending at the National Assembly will be concluded as soon as possible. Lee Jin-hyung, HYBE’s CCO, said, “Our artists have repeatedly sent messages to respond to the state’s calls from the past, and even now, their position still remains the same,” but added, “As issues related to our artists’ military service are of global interest, I hope the revision of the military service law will be concluded as soon as possible.”

Source: Daum

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