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Is South Korea deciding BTS' military exemption with a poll? K-pop fans say 'cowards'

BTS has shared that they'd enlist for their mandatory military service when the time came but the Defense Ministry is considering special exemption
BTS' military exemption has been in talks since mid-2021 (@bts_bighit/Twitter)
BTS' military exemption has been in talks since mid-2021 (@bts_bighit/Twitter)

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: It looks like South Korea will take even longer to come to a decision regarding BTS’ military exemption as a poll is to be conducted. After amending the drafting law which changed the maximum age limit from 28 to 30 years old, the Defense Ministry also allowed all BTS members to apply for a one-year deferment. All healthy South Korean males have to enlist for mandatory military service and this also includes celebrities like K-pop idols. But with BTS bringing billions of won and elevating South Korea’s global status in terms of culture and financial stability, those in power are trying to get BTS exempted.

HYBE and BTS had shared that the members would gladly enlist when it was their time, but the Defense Ministry has been holding discussions on whether an exemption is possible since mid-2021. In fact, some had proposed that BTS do an alternative military service where they can perform as a group as well as complete their service. Fans were angry as this would increase the workload of the K-pop superstars who are after all humans. And the latest update has not helped. On August 31, the Defense Minister of South Korea, Lee Jong-seop shared that they would be conducting a poll to finalise their decision.

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A poll to decide BTS’ military enlistment?

The South Korean Defense Minister shared, “This morning I ordered my staff to conduct a public opinion poll quickly. The poll will be conducted by a third party institution rather than a related ministry to ensure fairness…We will set a deadline and make a decision.” With the general public being divided, Knetizens and fans are frustrated at this latest development. Previously, when the Cultural Minister had asked the Korean youth for their understanding citing BTS’ military enlistment as a “national loss,” he had received much backlash.

‘Do your duty’

Similarly, following the news of a poll, Knetz left comments like, “Cleanly's not even a long time. With what right are you putting out messages to society that it's ok not to do your civic duty,” “How can you poll something like that??! For how long does BTS think they can keep hiding behind public opinion? F**king cowards... really,” and “No... what kind of nonsense is this?? So just because they've got a few fans who like them and have made some money as singers they get special perks to evade military? Is there anyone that doesn't work hard in life? Do your military duty!!”

Now once again, ARMY are unhappy that the South Korean government is delaying their answer and allowing trolls to constantly mock and ridicule BTS who cannot decide their next move till the exemption decision is revealed. One fan asked, “Others that have been given an alternative service has been given it through their merits. Because of the good they have done representing the country, but BTS’ is based on a poll? Just extend the fairness policy to BTS, look at what they’ve done & what they can continue to do.”


Another ARMY threw shade, “Letting the entire world know their economy is so weak it can't afford for them to serve their country for 18 months. Greedy over common sense. Defense Minister orders a "public opinion poll" to finally resolve BTS mandatory enlistment controversy.” One fan added, “Some useless athletes get exempted no questions asked but bts need the approval from the public over a silly poll?? the sk government useless bc HOW.” Another joked, “BTS in 2044:.” One shared, “This is honestly embarrassing, they're pushing 30 but their duty to their country depends on fan polls?"





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