Members of the Korean boy group BTS will not be exempted from mandatory military service, as the South Korean government aims to limit military exemptions.
According to a report from The Korea Herald, the Korean government announced a new amendment to its military service law.
Lee Nam-woo, chief of the Defense Ministry’s personnel welfare office, said the government would reduce the quota for military exemptions and enforce stricter conditions for eligible sports and arts personnel.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon also explained that the government needs to reduce military exemptions due to controversies in the system, including the country's low birthrate and fairness of the system, among others.
Under South Korea's Military Service Act, all able-bodied Korean men are required to serve the military for about two years.
Exemptions may be offered to qualified athletes and artists, such as those who bring home gold medals at the Asian Games or the Olympics, and artists who win high honors in international competitions.
Fans have criticized the exemption system for excluding musicians, such as BTS, who has topped international music charts.
South Korean performers such as Psy, whose 2012 hit "Gangnam Style" became the first video to top a billion views on YouTube, have previously broken into Western markets, but none have achieved BTS' sustained success. — with a report from Agence France-Presse