|BTS. / Korea Times file|
By Cho Hae-min
K-pop stars such as BTS could still be exempted from compulsory military service.
Noh Hyeong-ouk, minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, said Friday that a special review is needed to determine whether members of the boy band should serve in the military.
His comment comes about a month after officials at the government's military system reform body said they had agreed not to extend an existing exemption. Currently, military exemptions are given only to prize winners of certain contests, mostly Western classical and Korean traditional music events, as well as athletes who win any Olympic medals or Asian Games gold medals.
Asked at a parliamentary audit whether he believes some K-pop stars also deserve the privilege, Noh said the military system should reflect the current times and the ministry needs to review the idea.
The fairness of the system ― backed by a law introduced in 1973 ― was questioned last year after BTS' global success. Some lawmakers, including Ha Tae-keung of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, called for reform.
Jin, 26, the oldest member of BTS, is expected to begin his military duty soon.