As both their fandom ARMY and music listeners would say, South Korean band BTS paved the way. That’s why it’s inevitable that many politicians would try to control and use them to gain popularity and support among the general public.
This time, the presidential aspirant of South Korea’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party talked about the highly controversial military exemption in a campaign event. In the report by Yonhap News, when asked, Lee Jae-Myung reiterated that he believes mandatory military service is a public duty. To appease people, he admitted BTS’s contribution to the nation. Hence, lawmakers need to be careful in providing exceptions to the rule. In his opinion, exempting BTS from military service makes it hard to firmly draw a set point in expanding the scope of exceptions.
If the so-called BTS Law is passed, the septet will be given an alternative program where they’d still be able to work for 34 months, instead of the 22-month mandatory military service.
BTS is South Korea’s National Treasure. In 2019, they brought in $4.65 billion, worth 0.3 percent of the country’s GDP. The band, which debuted in 2013, is a part of why South Korea’s cultural market in the West and worldwide further solidified. While there are other K-pop acts that debuted in the US, none of them made the same impact, connection, and firm foundations to continue.
With laws and politics becoming a part, the fiery debate of whether or not BTS should be exempted from military service continues to blaze. It seems that whatever decision will be made, no one will win.