MUMBAI: The South Korean Defense Ministry has stressed the need to be “cautious” in considering whether to allow exemptions from military service for K-pop superstar group BTS, which just got his second Grammy nomination in as many years, and other prominent artists, citing the country’s shrinking population and other factors.
Ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-chan made the remarks as the National Assembly deliberates on a revision bill aimed at allowing male artists who have contributed to national interests to work in areas of their specialty. for 34 months under an alternative program that exempts them from compulsory active service, reports the Yonhap news agency.
All able-bodied South Korean men are expected to serve in the military for approximately two years. But only globally award-winning athletes and classical musicians have been granted a waiver in recognition of their role in promoting their country’s image abroad.
“Regarding the revision bill, the Defense Ministry cannot help but consider the situational variables. The one we are facing right now is the situation caused by the shrinking population,” Boo said during a regular press briefing.
“We also need a social consensus. In other words, this is fair military service,” he added, stressing the need to be “careful”.
Supporters of the overhaul bill argue that members of BTS and other world-famous stars should be allowed to continue working in their cultural spheres, especially after BTS recently became the first Asian group to win the award. for Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards.