Will fans of the Global K-pop boyband BTS have to see some of its members go on a hiatus for a few months? This question is boggling the minds of the South Korean government, as lawmakers discussed a bill that would allow prominent pop celebrities like BTS to substitute their mandatory military service for other public services.
Last year in December, the South Korean government through a bill had allowed the biggest K-pop stars such as BTS to delay their compulsory military service until the age of 30.
A year later, on November 25, South Korea’s National Assembly had an intense debate on the pros and cons of an exemption from military service , as reported by Korea Herald. Howver the subcommittee of the National Assembly’s defense committee has failed to make any progress during discussion.
The spokesperson for Korea’s Defense Ministry, Boo Seung-chan said that the military is considering 'situational variables'. The Ministry emphasized that given the country's shrinking population and other factors, it needs to be prudent about any decision of an exemption from service.
"We cannot help but consider situational variables when it comes to revising the bill. ... Public consensus is also needed. So to speak, it is about a fair military service,", said Boo Seung-chan, as quoted by Korea Herald.
The BTS Law bill, if passed, would allow the septet to continue their work as K-pop idols for 34 months under an alternative program, in place of them undergoing the regular 18 to 22 months of mandatory military service served by South Korean males.All able-bodied South Korean men between the ages of 18 and 28 must carry out compulsory military service for about two years in a country that faces North Korea across a heavily fortified border. Military service exemptions were given only to international award-winning athletes and classical musicians for their roles in elevating the country’s reputation overseas.