BTS should be exempted from military service, says South Korean Minister

"There is no reason the popular art-culture field should be excluded from [exemptions]"

South Korea’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Hwang Hee has called for BTS‘ exemption from the nation’s mandatory military service.

The Culture Minister proposed in a press briefing on May 4 that globally recognised male pop-culture artists should be allowed to substitute their compulsory two-year conscription for alternative programmes.

“It’s time to create a system for incorporating popular culture-art figures as art personnel,” Hwang said, per Yonhap News Agency, in recognition of figures such as award-winning athletes and classical musicians and their roles in enhancing South Korea’s image overseas.

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“The [exemption] system has been operated meaningfully to give those who have enhanced the national status based on their excellent skills more chances to contribute to the country, and there is no reason the popular art-culture field should be excluded from this,” he continued.

Under South Korea’s current Military Service act, all able-bodied Korean men are required to enlist for approximately two years of military service before the age of 30. This was after an amendment to the act was made in late-2020 where the age limit was raised from the initial 28.

“I thought somebody should be a responsible voice at a time when there are conflicting pros and cons ahead of the enlistment of some of the BTS members,” Hwang added. Notably, member Jin is currently slated to begin his military service by December this year, upon turning 30 that month

The minister also noted that pushing globally recognised pop artists to halt their careers at their peak would not only result in a great loss to the country’s cultural capital, but also to the entire world. However, the proposal remains highly controversial and contested by members of the public.

In other news, BTS have released several new details for their upcoming album, including a title and track details. Due out on June 10, ‘Proof’ will be a three-CD anthology featuring three new tracks alongside previously released songs.

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