Minister of Culture South Korea proposed that global K-Pop groups, such as BTSallowed to replace military service (enlistment) them with other alternative programs.
This proposal comes amid a debate over whether BTS should get an exemption or be released from the military.
“It’s time to create a system to include popular and cultural arts figures as art personnel,” South Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hwang Hee said at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, as quoted by Reuters. YonhapWednesday (4/5).
Hwang gave an example of a program that allows global award-winning athletes and classical musicians to carry out alternative programs in their respective fields instead of actively serving in the military.
The program was initiated as a form of recognition for their role in promoting South Korea on the world stage.
“This system is run for them to have more opportunities to contribute to the country, and there is no reason the field of popular arts and culture should be excluded from this,” Hwang said.
South Korea requires all men to serve in the military for about two years. Jin, the oldest member of BTS, is scheduled to enlist in December.
Hwang argued that the enlistment policy on global K-pop could potentially halt the peak of their careers and would cause huge losses not only to the country but to the entire world.
“I think someone should speak up at a time when there are conflicting pros and cons leading up to the enlistment of some BTS members,” he said.
Hwang then asked parliament to approve the relevant bill as early as possible.
Previously, a bill that would allow alternative programming for K-pop artists had been delayed in the National Assembly amid strong opposition from South Korean youth, both those who are already serving and those about to start military service.
South Korea’s Ministry of Defense has also stressed the need for “carefulness” in considering whether to allow exemptions from military service for BTS.
Responding to the increasing debate, especially from men in their 20s, Hwang stressed that alternative program proposals are worth considering if the state can give greater obligations to pop culture artists and create greater national interest through such programs.