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15,000 military duty deferrers must retake physical exam

Some 15,000 men who have delayed their mandatory military service for the last several years will be notified to take another physical checkup next year under a 2007 law, the military recruitment agency said Wednesday.

Under the military draft law, young men are to go through another checkup five years after taking the first one.

Before the law was enacted in January 2007, men had taken only one checkup. Under the previous law, those, once rated as unfit for the military service, could not join the armed services even after their health improved after the initial checkup.

In accord with the 2007 law, the Military Manpower Administration will notify the men who took the checkup in 2007 that they should undergo another checkup in November next year.

There will be many people whose health levels will have improved or deteriorated over the last four years, MMA officials said. Those evaluated as unable to be on active duty in the initial checkup, could be told to join the military, they said.

By law, students who attend a university can delay their service until the age of 27. Those who study abroad can postpone their service until the age of 29. After these age limits, they must join the military.

Currently, any physically able Korean man must serve either about 21 months in the Army, 23 months in the Navy, or 24 months in the Air Force to maintain the 650,000-strong military that serves mainly as a deterrent against North Korea.

By Song Sang-ho  (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)
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