A final update from South Korea National Defense Ministry revealed that there would be no change in decisions over BTS military service exemption. Check out the following report for the entire decision and statement from the National Defense Minister, Lee Jong Sup.
BTS Will NOT Receive Special Military Service and Exemption: A FINAL Update from National Defense Ministry
On September 20, South Korea held its 4th plenary session at the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul.
During this time, a member of Korea’s Democratic Party, Min Hong Cheol, raised a question regarding an update on BTS alternative military service and exemption. He wanted to make sure whether the country could really decide on BTS military service through a national poll.
“A perception emerged recently that BTS military service issue is decided through a poll. But, can polls really decide whether the group will serve in the military or not?”Rep. Min Hong Cheol.
National Defense Minister Lee Jong Sup responded to the question with a final update and final decision about the BTS military service exemption. According to the minister, nothing has changed in their decisions. Therefore, BTS will neither receive any alternative service nor exemption for their military obligation.
“Once again, the National Defense Ministry emphasized no change in the existing position. It is difficult to expand the alternative service system regarding the fairness of the military service obligations on the BTS military service issue.”Minister Lee Jong Sup.
Update on Possible Main Reasons Behind the Ministry’s Refusal
Previously, Assemblyman Kim Young Bae from South Korea Democratic Party proposed a revision bill for the military exemption act. It suggested a revision to extend the category for figures receiving special recognitions (such as the Order of Cultural Merit, Cultural Medal of Honor, Order of Sport Merit, Sporting Medal of Honor, etc) who gets alternative military service to pop culture and music category.
“Artists who are active on the global stage, promoting South Korea’s popular culture overseas, are immense contributors to various political, economic, and social scenes.
I hope that Korea’s popular culture artists and their talents should be redirected to serve the nation in their own ways, such as by acquiring the ‘2030 Busan World Expo’.”Assemblyman Kim Young Bae.
However, even after all the massive homework BTS had received from the government, it seems that there is not even a slight intention to give BTS an alternative option for their military service, let alone an exemption.
Why does the government insist on BTS going on their military service after everything they’ve done for their country?
BTS is Part of Pop Culture
Korean media reported that renowned music critic Lim Jin Mo shared his perspective on the government’s view in his appearance on MBC’s “100 Minute Debate”.
According to Lim Jin Mo’s update, while BTS has indeed achieved impressive records that deserve massive awards, they still cannot receive any military service exemption.
The main reason behind this unwavering decision is that BTS is a part of pop culture. And pop culture is a field that is based on profits from investment. Therefore, the ultimate award for the artists is to receive love from the public, not a military exemption.
“I’m thrilled to see pop culture icons gaining more social recognition, but when you think about it, the pop culture field is based on profits from investment. This means that the biggest reward for them is receiving love from the public. That’s enough for them.
No matter how much they’ve contributed to society and overseas, giving them the privilege to skip military goes against fairness.”Music Critic Lim Jin Mo.
Pop Culture vs. Classical Music
Lim Jin Mo also gave an additional perspective in comparison to classical music. The prominent music critic stated that classical music still needs “protection” because it only takes up a significantly small amount of the entire culture industry. Meanwhile, pop culture dominates the market with far better commercial compensation.
Government Officials Are in Unison that BTS Is NOT Eligible for Military Service Exemption Act
Furthermore, Lim Jin Mo also explained that even if the government agreed to extend the military exemption to pop culture, it would be overly complicated. That is because they would need to classify how many Billboard-topping tracks or cover stories in world-famous magazines would qualify for exemptions.
Along with the perspective from Lim Jin Mo, Military Manpower Administration Commissioner Lee Ki Sik also stated that involving pop culture artists in the military exemption would only cause more concerns. Therefore, they must quickly deal with this military exemption system’s framework.
“If pop culture artists are included, then it may garner feelings of discrimination, discrepancy, and discouragement among the younger male generation who are fulfilling their military duties.”Lee Ki Sik, Commissioner of Military Manpower Administration.
At the same time, Min Heong Cheol, who brought up the topic during the plenary session, also added that military service duties should be carried out according to laws and principles.
“I think that the most important duty of military service among the four obligations under the Constitution should be implemented in accordance with laws and principles.
I hope that the Minister will continue to uphold this decision firmly.”Rep. Min Hong Cheol.
What Do You Think?
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