Manila — Nearly six out of 10 Koreans are in favor of giving K-pop superstars BTS an exemption from the mandatory military service.
The Kwangju Broadcasting Corp. and UPI News conducted a survey on Sept. 1 among 800 Korean respondents about military service.
The survey was conducted after Minister Lee Jong-sup of Korea’s Ministry of National Defense announced on Aug. 31 that they are planning to hold a survey to know the opinion of the public regarding giving military exemption to BTS.
There is a pending bill in Korea’s National Assembly, the national legislature, that will allow pop culture artists like BTS to be added to the arts and sports field that may be granted exemption from military service.
Under the Korean law Military Service Act, “art and sports personnel” refers to “persons with special skills in the field of arts or sports who are assigned . and perform duties in the field of arts or sports to promote culture and enhance national prestige.” They are recommended for exemption by the minister of culture, sports and tourism.
Military Service and BTS
If there is no new law passed, BTS member Jin, the oldest, will be the first to enlist in the military by next year.
Based on the survey, conducted by Next Week Research, the 800 respondents were asked what they thought about granting military service exemption to BTS.
A total of 57.7 percent agreed (35.3 percent strongly agree and 22.4 percent somewhat agree), and 39.8 disagreed (12.3 percent strongly disagree and 27.5 percent somewhat disagree), and 2.5 percent had no response.
However, among the male respondents aged 18 and in their 20s, 63.9 percent opposed giving BTS military service exemption while 33.9 percent were in favor. Among Korean men in their 30s, 57.9 percent opposed and 41.1 percent were in favor.
The respondents were also asked their opinion about giving BTS the chance to delay their military service for a few more years instead of giving them military service exemption.
On this, 57.4 percent agreed and 39.1 percent were opposed. Among men 18 and in their 20s, 55.2 percent opposed and 42.4 percent agreed. A total of 48.2 percent of men in their 30s opposed while 46.3 percent agreed.
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