The Bareun Mirae Party‘s Ha Tae Kyung brought up the issue of military exemption and the equality of circumstances for receiving such an exemption at the latest National Defense Committee Meeting, mentioning many people have brought up the idea to him that BTS should receive military exemption for their international achievements.
He gave a few examples of what does receive military exemption in the musical world, and what doesn’t.
“There is a problem in equality when we look at the international events and accomplishments that are allowed to be considered for military exemption. If you place first in a musical competition, such as for violin or piano, you can be exempt. But you can’t be exempt if you place first on the Billboard Charts.”
— Ha Tae Kyung
He also talked about some of the world’s most trendy fields not receiving the same military exemption as some more traditional ones and called for a reform in the policy.
“The first place winner in a ballet competition can be exempt, but you won’t see a first place B-Boy on the exempt list. Athletes in E-Sports, which are taking over the world, are nowhere to be seen on the exempt list. There are people who participate in theater exempt, but nobody from the film industry. There needs to be a reform of the policy to fit with the younger generation.”
— Ha Tae Kyung
Military Affairs Director Ki Chan Soo said he is willing to consider changes to the military exemption law, provided the public agrees as well.
“We consult with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism regarding the idea of military exemption. It will be difficult if the public does not agree to changes. We will consider looking into it to create realistic terms and conditions.
— Ki Chan Soo
The Military Service Law currently allows citizens with extraordinary skills in arts and sports to serve as special agents to continue in their field of cultural development or sports for national prestige. Athletes who receive a medal at the Olympic Games or a Gold Medal at the Asian Games are also given exemption. These people only have to attend the 4 weeks of basic training and then are allowed to continue in their respective fields.
Athletes already given military exemption include 2008 Olympic gold medalist Lee Yong Dae, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Park Tae Hwan, 2014 Asian Games gold medalist Hyeon Chung, and the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Football Team.