One of the biggest controversies is whether any other artists can be covered by this law, except for BTS.
On December 24, the Korea Music Content Association (KMCA) released an official statement in response to the Ministry of National Defense’s adoption of the new mandatory enlistment postponement law involving ‘Merit Awardees in the Field of Popular Culture and Arts’. Previously, the Korean Ministry of Defense said that through this amendment, individuals who received the Presidential Order of Culture, recommended by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, were eligible to postponed military service until age 30.
The KMCA stated, “The law publicized by the Ministry of National Defense back on December 22 is currently strongly considering the criteria for those eligible for this law as ‘among individuals who have been awarded recognitions such as the Order of Cultural Merit, those who are recommended by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism’. In reality, the only entertainers who will be eligible for this law are BTS. We appreciate the government’s recognition of the role of K-Pop in promoting and enhancing the nation’s image, thus prompting the institution of helpful laws even during tough times. However, if it is realistically impossible for anyone else to be eligible for the limited criteria, what is the meaning of this law? If this law is passed through with the current standards, then no K-Pop artists will be able to take advantage of this law even if there were a 2nd-generation BTS in the future. If this law is a law that aims to promote the future of the K-Pop industry broadly, and not just a law made to allow BTS to delay their military service, then the specific criteria currently set to take effect have gone astray from the original aim of this law and revisions are necessary.”
Although KMCA’s statement seems to be “asking for justice” for other Kpop groups, not many people agree with their action this time. On online forums in Korea, many people stand in favor of BTS and think that it is reasonable to set such strict criteria if they do not want this law to be overused.
– “I’m not a BTS fan but I feel like they’re just using BTS to help other idols benefit from this law”
– “If other idols want to enjoy the same benefits, they have to achieve achievements like BTS.”
-“This law is not exclusive to BTS alone, but standards are raised so that only famous artists who achieve such achievements as BTS can benefit from it …”
– “It feels like other companies are using BTS to change the law, they tried to benefit from BTS but all failed”
– “In the future, regardless of the artist, they will be exempt from military service if they achieve achievements like BTS”
– “The BTS members will still enlist like everyone else”
– ”The law must be fair to all and more importantly must be seen to be fair to all, is the point. In this case, it’s so blatantly transparent in trying to delay BTS’ enlistment. The members should make it clear they refuse to profit from an unfair advantage and simply enlist like other young men without delays. Trying to cash in on their fame or milk their popularity for all its worth before they go downhill is expected, but not when it comes to national duty.”