Social media platform Cyworld to hold public survey on exempting BTS from obligatory military service

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : September 14, 2022, 10:48 Updated : May 31, 2023, 16:23

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- Discussions on whether BTS members should be exempted from compulsory military service will be held at a metaverse platform. Although many people regard BTS members as valuable national assets, military officials are reluctant to give them special treatment for fear of a backlash from young men in the run-up to military duty, which has been an extremely sensitive social issue in South Korea still technically at war with North Korea. 

South Korea's social media platform Cyworld will hold a nine-day public survey on September 14 regarding BTS' military service exemption at its metaverse-based platform called "Cy Agora." Users can freely discuss by leaving comments. 

According to a survey of 1,001 people conducted by pollster JoWon C&I, 54.1 percent said BTS members should fulfill their service while 40.1 percent supported special favors. Among those who gave negative answers, young people in their 20s accounted for 73.1 percent, followed by those in their 30s with 60.4 percent and 40s with 49.4 percent. 

In South Korea, all able-bodied men who are 18 and older should complete their military service for at least 18 months. Those who are not physically or mentally able enough to serve are assigned as public service workers at administrative facilities. Olympic medalists are given an exemption, but there are no rules governing pop artists.

In December 2020, BTS members were rewarded with the postponement of conscription for military service when its "Life Goes On" topped Billboard's main singles chart for the first time among Korean songs. BTS' eldest member Jin, who was 28 at the time, was allowed to put off enlistment until the age of 30. The deadline is the end of 2022.

Dodging military service has been a sensitive issue for celebrities. Steve Yoo, a Korean-born American singer, had gained popularity for his sporty image and explosive dancing style until he acquired U.S. citizenship in 2002. He has been banned from entering South Korea for widespread criticism that he changed nationality to evade military conscription.
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