'BTS Military Service Exemption' debate holds in National Assembly

연합뉴스 / 2022-05-12 17:48:27
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▲ This photo, provided by Big Hit Music, shows BTS. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- While the issue of the special military service exemption of the group BTS has become a hot social issue beyond the music industry, a debate on this topic was held at the National Assembly.

Ahn Kyu-back of the Democratic Party of Korea, a member of the National Assembly's National Defense Committee, mainly discussed the issue of military service exceptions by popular artists such as BTS at the “Grand Debate on the Improvement of Military Service Exemption” in the National Assembly on the 12th.

The current military service law allows people with art and sports specialties prescribed by the Presidential Decree to transfer those recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism into art and sports personnel.


However, the Enforcement Decree of the Military Service Act has been controversial over the fact that popular artists who make contributions to promoting national prestige such as BTS cannot be included in art and sports personnel.

In response, Lee Nam-kyung, director of the Korea Management Federation, said at the forum, "K-pop and other pop artists are active around the world and achieving the purpose of promoting national prestige," adding, "We need to guarantee their activities in front of the macro goal of cultural development."

Director Lee said, "It is imperative to revise and operate the current law so that national support and fair military service benefits are evenly distributed, taking into account the professional characteristics of popular culture artists who are in their prime for short periods.

Former Military Manpower Administration Commissioner Mo Jong-hwa also said, "We apply military service exceptions to pure arts, but there is a fairness problem in the popular arts without military service exceptions."

"The government should come up with measures to improve the overall military service system and alternative service system," Mo said. "It is necessary to form a consensus among the people and make a policy decision."

Fundamentally, the problem of the special military service system was pointed out, but if the current system should be maintained, the application of popular artists should be carefully reviewed.

There were also opinions against such a special military service exemption system of military service.

Professor Jin Seok-yong of Daejeon University said, "It is not the nature of the duty of national defense and the conscription system to impose a burden similar to military service for fairness with active duty."

Professor Jin said, "The significance of the conscription system is not in 'equality of hard work' but in 'need for national defense,’ stressing that “at least all alternative service systems of non-military nature should be abolished."




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