South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense announced its decision to gradually reduce the length of mandatory military enlistment for South Korean male citizens.
Beginning with soldiers to be released October 1st, 2018, the reduction of service period will be in effect. The total number of days reduced will increase one day per two weeks, eventually to cut down three months from the soldiers’ military duties.
The gradual reduction process is applied to have begun January 3rd, 2017 — meaning those in service now will also be affected by this change in policy.
Once the policy is in full effect, the Republic of Korea Army and the Republic of Korea Marine Corps soldiers will serve 18 months and the Republic of Korea Navy soldiers will serve 20 months. As for the Republic of Korea Air Force soldiers, the reduction will be a total of two months to serve 22 months. The Air Force already cut down a month in 2004 to increase enlistment rates.
Those serving their military duties as service workers will now serve 21 months. Those serving as skilled industry personnel will now work 23 months.
As for the concern regarding the reduction weakening the national military power, the Ministry of National Defense confirmed, “We are helping the drafted soldiers to focus on combat duties by minimizing their non-combat related duties. Any work that requires mastery will be carried out by non-commissioned officers.”
“This is also to minimize the pressure on South Korean male citizens to enlist, by reducing the time they must spend away from their educational endeavors or careers. The shortened enlistment periods will allow the male citizens of South Korea to return to the society earlier and contribute as part of the national manpower.”
— Ministry of National Defense
The ministry added, “The reduction of military duty must be reported to the National Defense Commission, passed by the council, and ultimately approved by the President of South Korea to take full effect.”
Meanwhile, fans are hopeful as this policy would guarantee an earlier return to stage for many K-Pop idols serving in the military as of now. Check out the date chart below to find out how many days would be reduced from your K-Pop artist’s military duty!