The people can decide if BTS should do military service

The issue of military service for the band’s seven members has been a hot topic in South Korea as its oldest member, Jin, faces conscription in December when he turns 30.

Officials now state that they are considering a public opinion poll where the public can vote on whether the boy group members should be granted furloughs or not.

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup says he has ordered his officials to quickly conduct the investigation, but that his ministry will also consider other factors. This applies, among other things, to the importance BTS has on the country’s economy, the importance of military service and “overall national interests”.

Law on military service

After his statement sparked strong reactions, his cabinet clarified that he had only ordered officials to investigate whether such an inquiry was needed, rather than launching it immediately.

By law, all able-bodied men in South Korea must serve 18–21 months in the military to deal with threats from rival North Korea. But the country makes exceptions for elite athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other top dancers who are considered to raise the nation’s standing.

More exceptions

Some politicians and others have called for the exemptions to be extended to include K-pop stars such as BTS as they have contributed most significantly to South Korea’s international image.

A private survey earlier this year showed that around 60 percent of respondents supported the release of BTS members. However, another 2020 poll found that 46 percent supported an exemption while 48 percent opposed it.

Picture from May this year when BTS visited the White House in Washington, USA.

Source: by

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