A South Korean music industry group has filed a complaint before the Ministry of National Defense against the “BTS Law” that allows K-pop idols to defer their mandatory military service.
The Korea Music Content Association (KMCA) said the law was “unrealistic and unfair,” and appealed to the Ministry of National Defense to reconsider the amendment prior to effectivity in June this year.
The KMCA allegedly filed the objection on behalf of 26 of its 27 member agencies, including South Korea’s “Big Three” entertainment agencies: SM, JYP, and YG entertainment.
The amendment, which was passed last year, allows pop singers who have received cultural merits from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to defer their enlistment until the age of 30.
Similar exemptions and extensions were also given to South Korean athletes and international musicians who had brought pride and honor to the country internationally. However, the group said that no other pop musicians could benefit from this new exemption except BTS.
In 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in awarded BTS the Order of Cultural Merit for the group’s “extraordinary” international success.
KMCA said the Order of Cultural Merit is supposed to be given to musicians whose career has spanned more than 15 years or are at least 60 years old, but at the time when BTS received the award, the group members were only five years into their career.
BTS was the only K-pop group awarded this cultural merit at a very young age, making it the only act whose members qualify for deferment.
The industry group also said the new law discriminated against other industries, as men who establish start-ups or pursue graduate and post-graduate studies abroad are also eligible to defer. Jade Veronique V. Yap