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BTS members must report for military service, authorities say, despite calls to exempt them

If football star Son Heung-min can score an exemption from South Korea's mandatory military service, fans of BTS are adamant that the seven members of the boy band should enjoy that privilege too.

But the fans' hopes have now been dashed after the authorities on Thursday (Nov 21) decided not to grant exemptions to outstanding entertainers due to the shrinking pool of enlistees in the country.

BTS have spearheaded the K-pop march abroad, with their successful invasion of the American market.

According to Korea Times, the defence ministry has decided not to widen the pool of people eligible for exemptions.

Mr Lee Nam-woo, chief of the ministry's personnel welfare office, said: "We believe military duty will not hurt popular performers so critically that they cannot perform anymore (after they are discharged)."

Culture Minister Park Yang-woo said that "unlike classical arts or sports, it is difficult to fix the selection criteria in the popular culture and arts fields, which makes it difficult to institutionalise (a waiver system)".

Currently, exemptions are given to those who win gold at the Asian Games or Read More – Source

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