BTS’ military exemption may also depend on a public survey as S.Korea considers a potential national survey

South Korean government may consider a national survey to determine BTS
South Korean government may consider a national survey to determine BTS' conscription fate (Image via Twitter/bts_bighit)

BTS’ military exemption may also lie in the hands of the South Korean public. As per the Associated Press, on August 31, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup asked the officials to launch a national survey on the heated topic soon.

As the news started making waves, the Defense Ministry later clarified that Lee did not launch the survey but mulled over its potential and feasibility. It was a suggestion to the officials to see whether such a survey would be needed. Additionally, the survey was to be an add-on factor to determine the K-pop septet’s exemption, not the only determining factor.

The globally-renowned K-pop septet’s conscription has been a source of contention for quite a few years. The country’s discussion on the issue has heightened as its oldest member, Jin, will be closing in on 30 years of age on December 31 this year.

Earlier in 2020, the government passed a law allowing the K-pop septet to delay their conscription for two years. BTS is the only K-pop act to have been granted the honor of postponing military service until they turn 30. However, with just five months to go, the clock is ticking.

Latest update on BTS’ military exemption: A national survey may help decide the country’s consensus on its biggest superstars

RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook - seven underdog K-pop idols who rose from a small company no one knew about to worldwide superstars who contribute $3.5 billion to South Korea’s economy alone annually - are yet to face their lives’ most important decision.

The decision to enlist is a serious issue that the international ARMY fandom treads carefully to share their opinions of. But South Korean ARMY and non-ARMY may have a say in the group’s life-altering decision.

The South Korean Defense Minister has asked officials to look into several aspects and the feasibility of a national survey regarding the issue. As per the reports, they were asked to learn the basic yet important details responsible for making the survey, such as which third-party agency could execute one fairly, the sample population, and the duration.

Additionally, the minister had earlier mentioned that they would also look into the importance of military service, the nation’s interest, and BTS’ overall impact on the country’s economy. It goes without saying that the group gave a double-power boost to the slowly growing Hallyu Wave, bringing huge investments, hundreds of flocks of tourists, and cementing K-pop’s existence in global music history.

Conscription is a compulsory military service that every able-bodied South Korean man must enlist in. Musicians and athletes from the Olympics and equivalent-level recognition and awards are the only men exempted from it. The septet's military service exemption is a complex issue.

Recently, Busan’s mayor, Park Heong-joon, suggested alternative military service to the Presidential Office for BTS. Alternate conscription entails working in shelters, firefighting departments, and other activities done in lieu of active-duty soldier responsibilities.

In a private survey conducted in 2020, 46% of the people supported BTS’ military exemption while 48% opposed it, according to The Guardian.

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Edited by Babylona Bora