Korean Lawmaker Receives Backlash For Mentioning BTS In Debate About Military Service Exemption

“This is a joke. Are these shameful politicians happy now that they’ve mentioned BTS and made it a big issue?”

Lawmaker An Min Suk, chairman of the Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee, recently emphasized the need to improve the current laws on military service exemptions.


He argued that the current laws were outdated and needed to better reflect the times.

“The military exemption laws were created in 1973. At the time, [the military exemption law] proved to be a great motivation as the North and South were competing against each other through sports, but now, after 45 years, the laws must be changed to better reflect the times.”

 An Min Suk


Currently, any able-bodied men are required to serve in the military unless they have won honorary titles on a global stage. Athletes who have have either won a title at the Asian games or medals at the Olympics are exempt from military service. Artists who win titles at major national art competitions or have completed intangible cultural heritage training also qualify for exemption.


The same laws, however, do not apply to musicians in the K-Pop industry. There are currently no qualification categories for K-Pop artists who win honorary awards on a global stage.


An Min Suk debated that the current conscription laws need to be revised. He recommends including other categories – like K-Pop artists – that allows military exemption. In the midst of his argument, he mentioned BTS as an exemplary case of idols who should be considered for exemption.

“BTS has reached #1 on the Billboard Charts and undeniably made contributions to the nation. In regards to issue of reforming the law, it must be brought to the attention of the people.”

 An Min Suk


Korean BTS fans became enraged by the mention because it caused BTS to receive unnecessary backlash from the public. The debate regarding K-Pop idols qualifying for military exemption is a highly controversial case in Korea.

  • “This is a joke. Are these shameful politicians happy now that they’ve mentioned BTS and made it a big issue?”
  • “Just stop and shut up. It’s annoying.”
  • “It’s true that the laws need to be changed according to the times but it is very uncomfortable to continuously watch BTS being mentioned by politicians because of their popularity. I hope they will stop using BTS for politics.”
  • “Can you please stop? You’re taking a group that has no intention of being exempted from the military service and yet they’re being attacked…”


No final conclusion has been made about certain K-Pop idols being exempt from mandatory service, but ARMYs request politicians to stop bringing BTS into the sensitive topic.

Source: Naver News and Korea Herald