An alternative military service that would keep BTS active as a K-pop group had drawn much criticism from fans
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: After much deliberation and back-and-forth, we may finally have an answer as to whether BTS will enlist for mandatory military service. The Defense Minister of South Korea has spoken out in hopes of ending this debate. All healthy South Korean men under the age of 30 are required to enlist for compulsory military service, and sadly, to this day, even K-pop idols are not exempt.
But with BTS’s global influence, as they single-handedly brought $3.5 billion into their country in 2020 and elevated South Korea’s cultural and economic status, those in power have tried to rid them of it. In fact, the culture minister had stated that recruiting BTS would be a national loss, which angered Korean youth as they felt it was unfair. Since mid-2021, the Department of Defense has been trying to develop an unbiased system where arts personnel can be exempted to be fair to BTS colleagues and the public, but has not found a solution. They even attempted to conduct a public opinion poll, which received a lot of backlash.
Will BTS come forward?
It should be noted that BTS themselves have stated that they will fulfill their duty as South Korean citizens and will enroll in due course. Supervisors’ absurd and tedious suggestions to let BTS join and also be active as a group infuriated BTS fans. Now, on September 20, at the National Assembly in Seoul, the Democratic Party asked the Secretary of Defense about BTS’ special exemption from their compulsory military service and their recent decision to cancel the public opinion poll.
A representative asked, “The issue of BTS’s military service will not be decided by an opinion poll… Can the decision on whether or not the group will serve in the military really be made by a poll?” Ministry of National Defense to reiterate, it does not change the existing position that it is difficult to further develop the alternative service system in view of the fairness of military service obligations on the issue of BTS military service.”
The representative of the Democratic Party also shared her party’s thoughts, agreeing: “I think that the most important duty of military service among the four obligations of the Constitution should be implemented in accordance with laws and principles. I hope that the minister’s strictness will be maintained. “
Since mid-2021, when the Department of Defense initiated a special debate on BTS’s military service, his position has always been to let the K-pop supergroup enter. The updates that fans have received over the months have been opinions and suggestions from other ministries and leaders in the culture department.
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