July 7, 2022

The South Korean National Assembly’s defense committee had organized a subcommittee to discuss changes to the Military Service Act, the so-called BTS law, which rather concluded with no specific solution at the moment.

The subcommittee’s discussion whether the country should grant exemptions to pop artists from military service that have helped elevate its global standing reached a standstill in its deliberations.

According to reports, if the so-called bill is passed, K-pop stars instead of undertaking active-duty service for the usual 18 to 22 months will allow them to work in their field for 34 months under an alternative program.

The subcommittee official reported that the particular debate between the ruling and opposition parties on the pros and cons of the changes had grown more intense. Therefore, the subcommittee suggested that they need to hear more opinions from the public and discuss the matter further.

According to the Defense Ministry, it has stressed the need for “judiciousness.” It cautioned that amid the nation’s shrinking population and other factors, they need to be careful about making decisions that could exempt world renowned K-pop group BTS and other top artists from military service.

The ministry spokesperson, Boo Seung-chan, commented that in order to give the people of its country a fair military service, it cannot help but consider situational variables when it comes to revising the bill, while public consensus is also needed for the same.

Under the country’s current law, all able-bodied Korean men are obliged to serve in the military. However, given the culture minister’s recommendation, international award-winning athletes and classical musicians are given an exemption to complete their service while remaining active professionally.

Earlier this year, three lawmakers had proposed bills calling for the above exemptions to apply to a wider range of artists.

If the government decides to revise the law, BTS in recognition of its contributions to the country’s image could be exempted from military service.

However, under the latest revision to the act that came into effect last year, the group’s eldest member, Jin, can only postpone his military enlistment until the end of the year, when he turns 30.