South Korean Culture Minister Park Bo-gyoon declared on Wednesday, October 5, that his ministry will give an official decision about the possible exemptions of K-pop supergroup BTS from military service by December, in time for the group’s oldest member to serve in the Army.
“The ministry will determine its position as early as possible as the conscription issue of BTS’ oldest member Jin will be concluded in December,” the Culture Minister said. The statement is his reply to Rep. Lee Yong-ho of the ruling People Power Party Rep. Lee Yong-ho’s request to consider exempting the boyband members from mandatory military service.
Korean law requires all able-bodied male citizens to perform military duties for approximately two years. But exemptions are granted to international award-winning athletes and classical musicians under the recommendation of the minister of culture, sports, and tourism. Instead of doing active duties, the exempted individuals will do alternative services based on their fields.
The issue of BTS’ exemption from mandatory services became a part of the lingering national debate about whether the K-pop superstars can get exemptions due to their contribution to promoting Korea’s brand image in the world.
Culture Minister Park Bo-gyun remains mum about his position regarding the issue since assuming the position in May. He only declared that public opinion is crucial in settling the issue.
This week, the culture minister repeatedly mentioned that he is strongly looking into many factors before making any decision. He enumerated the sacredness of military service and how it is recognized as a symbol of justice in the country.
He also acknowledged the role BTS played in boosting awareness about Korean culture all over the world, as well as its effect in the economy. He also considers the opinion of the general public, men in their 20s, and the lawmakers.
Source: The Korea Times