The South Korean government has announced that it will no longer be holding a public poll regarding BTS’ potential military exemption.
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South Korea’s Ministry of National Defence has followed-up on minister Lee Jong-sup’s previous comments regarding a potential public poll on BTS’ military exemption, announcing that it will not be going forward with the poll.
During an August 31 parliamentary hearing, defence minister Lee Jong-sup told lawmakers of plans to implement a national survey to gauge public opinions on exempting the boyband from mandatory military service. The ministry later clarified that officials were only examining the need of such a survey at the time.
As of September 1 however, it confirmed that it will not be conducting a poll on BTS’ enlistment.
“The Ministry of National Defence will not arrange a public poll on the matter, nor making decisions on the issue of BTS’ military service solely based on the result of the poll,” it shared through an official statement, as reported by SBS News.
All able-bodied male citizens of South Korea are to enlist in the military by the age of 28, serving at least 18 months of mandatory service under the current law. Special exemptions are granted to athletes, actors, directors and classical musicians who have made a significant international impact.
The members of BTS have been granted a special deferment under an amendment passed in 2020, which allows for pop musicians who have been awarded the Order of Cultural Merit to postpone their enlistment until the age of 30. However, discussions surrounding possible exemptions for the boyband have intensified recently, as oldest member Jin will be turning 30 this December.
Per SBS News, BTS’ agency HYBE previously stated that the members will serve their military terms when the time comes. It has yet to share specific plans for enlistment.
Last month, mayor Park Heong-joon of Busan City proposed to the South Korean presidential office that BTS be granted allowance to serve an alternative form of military service. He citied the group’s role as ambassadors for Busan’s bid to host the World City Expo in 2030 as a reason for this proposal.