6 in 10 S. Koreans approve BTS members' military service exemption

Kyodo News

Posted at Sep 20 2022 06:53 AM

SEOUL - A recent South Korean public opinion survey has shown 60.9 percent of the public approve of revisions to the law on mandatory military service in a way that would allow celebrities like members of the world-famous K-pop boy band BTS to avoid being drafted.

The results of the survey, commissioned to South Korean polling company Realmeter by the National Assembly's National Defense Committee, are likely to inject momentum into debate on the issue given calls among both ruling and opposition lawmakers on the committee for changing the law.

The Defense Ministry has been reluctant to see the law altered, however.

Currently, the law exempts elite athletes and winners of artistic competitions from military service, which is mandatory for all eligible males. The lawmakers have pushed for extending the exemptions to the field of pop culture.

The poll, conducted on about 1,000 people across the country last Wednesday and Thursday, showed 34.3 percent of South Koreans are against changing the law.

Amid calls from lawmakers for changing the military service law, Defense Minister Lee Jong Seop told a session of the National Assembly on Aug. 31 that he would consider conducting a poll to use in policy-making. The next day, the Defense Ministry said it would not be the one conducting the survey.

The oldest member of the seven-member BTS, Jin, will turn 30 at the end of this year, requiring him to start his mandatory service under the current law.

The parliament's National Defense Committee has said following the public survey that it intends to reach a conclusion on a related debate soon.

==Kyodo

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