June 29, 2022

South Korean ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung has voiced his suspicion over whether to grant special favors to K-pop superstar BTS for its mandatory military service on Thursday.

According to reports, at a campaign event, Lee of the liberal Democratic Party was asked about his views on the long-running issue of whether the septet should be exempted from military service or given other favors for their role in promoting the nation’s image overseas.

To which he replied that mandatory military service is a public duty that is set by the Constitution and they must be judicious about granting exceptions. Although the group’s contribution to the nation cannot be denied, the government need be careful because it will be hard to draw the line if we expand (the scope of exceptions) like this.

Earlier in December, Lee made similar remarks mentioning that he would prefer deferring BTS’ military service to granting the members exemptions.

As per the country’s constitution, all able-bodied South Korean men between the ages of 18 and 28 are required to carry out compulsory military service for about two years.

While exemptions are granted to international award-winning athletes and classical musicians for their roles in elevating the country’s reputation overseas.

Discussions have also been going on whether BTS members should be allowed to carry out alternative military duty in recognition of their contribution to the country’s national image with their unprecedented Billboard-topping hits.
Lastly, Lee mentioned that as far as I know, the group is not asking for exemptions, and when the political circles stepped up to call for exemptions, its fan club ARMY questioned why the political circles were meddling. And arguing about exemptions in itself does damage to their honor.