Govt. briefs entertainers on mandatory military service

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jul 18, 2019 - 11:13
  • Updated : Jul 18, 2019 - 11:14

The military manpower agency said Thursday it held a briefing session for entertainment agencies as part of efforts to help celebrities carry out their mandatory military service and create a fair draft culture.

All able-bodied South Korean men must serve in the military for about two years.

The Military Manpower Administration keeps a list of potential draftees considered at higher risk of draft dodging, including entertainers, athletes and the children of high-income earners and senior public officials. A total of 34,970 young men are currently on the list.

South Korean men undergo medical checkups for conscription at a Seoul office of the Military Manpower Administration on Jan. 28, 2019. (Yonhap)

"During the session, we explained the major rules related to the draft system, including the necessary steps to defer enlistment and to make overseas trips, among other things," the administration said, adding that the measure is intended to facilitate better monitoring the process of their service.

Thursday's presentation was attended by 100 entertainment agencies, the MMA said, adding that it is scheduled to hold 15 further events through October with the participation of 2,200 management entities.

The administration's campaign came after the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Steve Yoo -- a Korean-American singer better known here as Yoo Seung-jun -- despite the draft-dodging suspicions surrounding him. 

Yoo Seung-jun (Yonhap)

Last week, the top court ruled that it is unlawful for the South Korean government to refuse to grant him an entry visa, after the once-successful singer renounced his Korean nationality and acquired US citizenship in 2002, despite his earlier public promise to fulfill his military duty.

His case has sparked a public outcry, and his possible return is still a matter of heated debate.

Expressing concerns over the potential adverse influence of the case on young South Koreans, the military manpower agency has vowed to continue to seek measures to prevent attempts to evade mandatory military service by changing nationality. (Yonhap)