Conscription in South Korea

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Conscription in South Korea has existed since 1957 and requires male citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 to perform compulsory military service.[1][2] Women are not required to perform military service, but they may voluntarily join the military.[3]

South Korean soldiers in training

Establishment[edit]

The basis for military conscription in South Korea is the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, which was promulgated on 17 July 1948. The constitution states in Article 39, "All citizens shall have the duty of national defense under the conditions as prescribed by Act."[4][5]

In addition, the conscription is defined and acted by the "Military Service Act" (병역법).[6][7] According to the "Military Service Act" Article 3, "Every masculine gender of the Republic of Korea shall faithfully perform mandatory military service, as prescribed by the Constitution of the Republic of Korea and this Act. A feminine gender may perform only active service or reserve service through volunteering" and "Except as provided in this Act, no special case concerning mandatory military service shall be prescribed". Only males being drafted was confirmed by the Constitutional Court of Korea, which declared in 2006 that it is the right of government to decide whoever is subject of the conscription, and hence there is no constitutional error of government decisions.[8] Conscription is managed by the Military Manpower Administration, which was created in 1948.[9]

Enlistment and impairment-disability evaluation[edit]

By law, when a South Korean man turns 18 years old, he is enlisted for "first citizen service," meaning he is liable for military duty, but is not yet required to serve.[10][11] When he turns 19 years old (or, in some instances, 20 years old), he is required to undergo an Impairment & Disability evaluation to determine whether he is suitable for military service. The table below shows the evaluation's possible grades and their outcomes, according to the Military Service Act.[12] Men must enlist by the time they turn 28.[13]

Grade Description Outcome
1, 2, 3 "Those whose physical and psychological constitution is healthy enough to perform active in army." "To be enlisted for active duty service, supplemental service or the second citizen service, based on their qualifications, such as educational background and age."
4 "Those whose physical and psychological constitution is not so healthy for active training but capable of doing supplemental service for civilians as replacements

(This is a common grade for people with minor disabilities)."

"To be enlisted for supplemental service or the second citizen service, based on their qualifications, such as educational background and age."
5 "Those incapable of entering active or supplemental service, but capable of entering the second citizen service

(This is a common grade for people with disabilities)."

"To be enlisted for the second citizen service."
6 "Those incapable of performing military service due to any disease or mental or physical incompetence

(This is a common grade for people with severe disabilities)."

"To be exempted from military service."
7 "Those unable to be graded...due to any disease or mental or physical incompetence." "To undergo a follow-up physical examination" within two years.

Term of South Korea military service[edit]

Areas Notation of military service relevant regulation Usually term Meaning
English Korean English Korean
Conscription examination Draft Physical Examination 병역판정검사
징병검사
징병신체검사
Conscription Examination
Military Service Judgment Examination
Physical Examination(PE)
징병검사
병역판정검사
신체검사(신검)
Physical Grade 신체등급
신체등위
Physical Grade 신체등급
Grade I
Grade II
Grade III
Grade IV
Grade V
Grade VI
Grade VII
1급
2급
3급
4급
5급
6급
7급
Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Grade 7
1급
2급
3급
4급
5급
6급
7급
- 갑종
제1을종
제2을종
제3을종
병종
정종
무종
Grade A
Grade B-1
Grade B-2
Grade B-3
Grade C
Grade D
Grade E
갑종
1을종
2을종
3을종
병종
정종
무종
Physical grades names from Before 1984
- Disposition for military service
- Type of service
Preliminary Military Service
First militia Service
First Citizen Service
병역준비역
제1국민역
Preliminary Military Service
1st Citizen Service
병역준비역
제1국민역
Active Service 현역 Active 현역
Reserve Service 예비역 Reserve Service 예비역
Full-Time Reserve Service 상근예비역 Full-Time Reserve Service 상근예비역
Supplementary Service
Supplemental Service
Recruit Service
보충역 Supplementary Service 보충역
Wartime labor service
Second militia Service
Second Citizen Service
전시근로역
제2국민역
Exemption from Military Service in Ordinary time
Exemption from Ordinary time
평시병역면제
평시면제
Exemption from Military service 병역면제 Exemption from All Military Service
All exemption
병역완전면제
완전면제
Removal from Military Register 병역제적 Exemption from All Military Service by Criminal record
All exemption from Criminal record
전과에 의한 병역완전면제
전과에 의한 완전면제
전과로 병역완전면제
전과로 완전면제
In the case of being sentenced to more than 6 years in prison under the ROK Military service act, it was Removal from Military service registration.[14]
Disposition for subject to active duty, service, etc. Enlisted in Active Service 현역입영대상 Active duty
Subject to Enlist
Subject to Conscription
Subject to Draft
현역대상
현역입영대상
징병대상
Called for Full-Time Reserve Service 상근예비역소집대상 Subject to Called for Full-Time Reserve Service 상근예비역소집대상
Disposition for subject to supplementary service callup, service, etc. Called for Defense 방위소집대상 Called for Defense 방위소집대상 Defense Call-up(Defense soldier call-up) is classified as a supplementary service from 1969 to 1994. It was in the form of commuting from home to Military unit(or Police station, Police box, Conscription part of Town office).
- 방위병 Defense Soldier 방위병
Called for Public Interest Service 공익근무요원소집대상 Called for Public Service 공익복무요원 소집대상
Called for Social Service 사회복무요원소집대상 Called for Social Service 사회복무요원 소집대상
Public interest service Personnel 공익근무요원 Social Service Personnel 공익근무요원
Social Service Personnel 사회복무요원 Social Service Personnel 사회복무요원

Certificate Of Military Registration[edit]

Certificate Of Military Registration data notation[15][16]
English Korean
Name Hong Gil-dong 홍 길동
Kim Han-guk 김 한국
Birth date 12 Mar. 1979 790312
28 Mar. 2001 2001. 3.28
Physical grade Grade I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7급
Draft Physical Examination Omitted 병역판정검사생략
Disposition for military service Preliminary Military Service 병역준비역
Subject to Draft Physical Examination 병역판정검사대상
Active Service 현역
Enlisted in Active Service 현역병입영대상
Full-Time Reserve Service 상근예비역
Called for Full-Time Reserve Service 상근예비역소집대상
Supplementary Service 보충역
Called for Social Service 사회복무요원소집대상
Alternative Service 대체역
Called for alternative service 대체복무요원소집대상
Reserve Service 예비역
Subject to Follow-up Physical Examination 재신체검사대상
Wartime Labor Service 전시근로역
Examption from Military Service 병역면제
Removal from Military Register 병적제적(6년이상수형)
Reason of disposition An only son 독자
Wounded in action or injured in the line of duty 전·공상
(Family member) wounded in action or injured in the line of duty (가족)전·공상
Difficulties in Earning a Livelihood 생계유지곤란
Not Completing Middle School 중학교 중퇴이하
Long-term Waiting 장기대기
Emigration 국외이주(이민)
Acquisition of the Permanent Residence Right 영주권취득
Loss of nationality 국적상실
Thirty-one years of age or older 31세이상
Thirty-six years of age or older 36세이상
Remaining in Physical Grade VII for one year or longer 7급1년이상
Remaining in Physical Grade VII for two year or longer 7급2년이상
Naturalization 귀화
Multiracial child 혼혈아
Serving a sentence 수형
Child born out if wedlock 혼인외 출생자
Excluded from the Public 제외
Immigrated from the North of the Military Demarcation Line 군사분계선 이북지역에서 이주
Boot camp Army Recruit Training Center 육군 훈련소
OO Replacement Center OO 보충대
OO Division OO 사단
Draft examination Postponement of Draft Physical Examination (Studying Abroad) 병역판정검사연기(유학)
Postponement of Draft Physical Examination (Seafarer) 병역판정검사연기(선원)
Postponement of Draft Physical Examination (Residing Abroad) 병역판정검사연기(국외이주)
Postponement of Draft Physical Examination (Emigration) 병역판정검사연기(국외거주)
Postponement of Draft Physical Examination (In Prison) 병역판정검사연기(재감)
Evasion of Draft Physical Examination 병역판정검사 기피
Enlist of active Postponement of Conscription (Student) 입영연기(재학생)
Postponement of Conscription (Studying Abroad) 입영연기(유학)
Postponement of Conscription (Residing Abroad) 입영연기(국외거주)
Postponement of Conscription (Emigration) 입영연기(국외이주)
Postponement of Conscription (Training in Research Institute) 입영연기(연수)
Postponement of Conscription (Outstanding Athlete) 입영연기(우수연수)
Postponement of Conscription Date 입영일자 연기
Homecoming after Conscription 입영후 귀가
Subject to Notice of Re-Conscription 재입영통지대상
Domestic Reason 가사사정
Employed Abroad 국외취업
Residing in an Unreclaimed Area 미수복지구거주
Application for Military Service 군 지원
Evasion of Conscription 입영기피
Missing 행방불명
(Medical/Judicial/Religious) Officer/Cadet Officer (의무/법무/군종)장교/사관후보생
Basic Branch Officer 기본병과장교
Noncommissioned Cadet Officer 부사관 후보생
Enlistment in OO OO 편입
Removed from OO OO 제적
Call of supplementary service, etc. Postponement of Call (Student) 소집연기(재학생)
Postponement of Call (Studying Abroad) 소집연기(유학)
Postponement of Call (Seafarer) 소집연기(선원)
Postponement of Call (Residing Abroad) 소집연기(국외거주)
Postponement of Call (Emigration) 소집연기(국외이주)
Postponement of Call (Training in Research Institute) 소집연기(연수)
Postponement of Call (Outstanding Athlete) 소집연기(우수연수)
Postponement of Call Date 소집일자연기
Exemption from Call 소집면제
Evasion from Call 소집기피
Enlistment in OO (산업요원등)편입
Cancellation of Enlistment in OO OO 편입취소
Advance Service 선복무
Social Service Personnel 사회복무요원
International Cooperation Service Personnel 국제협력봉사요원
Art and Sports Personnel 예술체육요원
Expert Research Personnel 전문연구요원
Industrial Technial Personnel 산업기능요원
International Cooperative Doctor 국제협력의사
Public-Service Advocate 공익법무관
Public Healch Doctor 공중보건의사
Doctor Exclusively in Charge of Draft Physical Examination 병역판정검사전담의사
Onboard Ship Reserve Service 승선근무예비역
Alternative Service Personnel 대체복무요원
Others Ban on foreign travel (a person who has stayed in the country for one year or longer) 출국금지(1년이상 국내체재)
Removal of the ban on foreign travel (others)
Jehovah's Witnesses 여호와의 증인
Departure before age 24 24세이전출국
Period of Mandatory Service 의무복무기간
Exclusion from the Military Service 군복무 제외기간
Short-term overseas travel 단기여행
Illegal stay in a foreign country 국외불법체재
Violation of duty to obtain permission for overseas travel 국외여행허가의무위반
Forces Army 육군
Navy 해군
Air Force 공군
Marine, Subordinate to ROK Navy 해병대
Expiration date Indefinite 무기한
6 Months 6월
Type of service Reserve Service 예비역
Recruit Service 보충역
Exemption from the Service 면역
Retirement from the Service 퇴역
Removal from Military Register 병적제적
Discharge Discharge from Military Service 전역
Discharge from Military Service by Application 원에 의한 전역
Forced Discharge from Military Service 원에 의하지 아니한 전역
Home on Leave from Military Service 귀휴전역
Discharge from Military Service as Woman 여군전역
Completion of Service 복무만료
Completion of Service(Release from Call) 복무만료(소집해제)
Completion of Military Service 만기
Age Limit 연령정년
Disease 의병
Domestic Reason 가사사정(의가사)
Difficulties in Maintaining Household 생계곤란
An only son 독자
wounded in action or injured in the line of duty 전·공상
Emigration 국외이주
Disqualification 신분상실
Exclusion to the Public 제외
Secession from Military Service 군복무이탈(삭제)
Removal from the Army Register 군 제적
Self-Surrender 자수신고
National Land Construction Corps 국토건설단
Volunteer Soldier as a Student 학도의용군
Military Service Act 병역법
Enforcement Decree of Military Service Act 병역법시행령
Detailed Enforcement Regulation of Military Service Act 병역법 시행규칙
Combatant police, etc. Combatant Police Officer 전투경찰
Auxiliary Police Officer 의무경찰
Obligatory Fireman 의무소방
Coast Guart 해양경찰
Correctional Guard 경비교도

Military service age[edit]

The age standard is from January 1 to December 31 of the year of age.

  • : Age group of Mandatory Military service
  • : Age group of Mandatory Military service in Wartime
Age Mandatory military service Duty of conscription examination and enlist, etc. Type of service
17 or younger Military Manpower Administration takes over the Identity registration data of persons (17 year old male) who are enrollment to Military Service Registration(Assignment the Preliminary Military Service) in the following year from the Ministry of the Interior, and transmits them to the Local Military Manpower Office.
18 Subject for Mandatory Military service of Peacetime No, But Possible the Voluntary enlist.

- Assignment the Preliminary Military Service.
- Persons with disabilities registered under the Disabled registration system is Wartime Labor Service or Exemption from Military Service.Note 1

19 to 35 All Military service obligators are obligated to Conscription examination and Enlist/Call-up(Passed person from Conscription examination. Active duty is Enlist, Supplementry Service is Call-up) 1.According to the results of the Conscription examination.(Military Disposition. Active duty, Supplementary service, Wartime labor service or Exempted from Military service)
2.When the Mandatory service(Active service) period is complated, they are transferred to reserve service.
36 to 37 1.In the peacetime, General Military service obligators are no Conscription examination and Enlist/Call-up

2.In the peacetime, Military Service Act Violators, Oversea stayer, etc. are obligated to Conscription examination. When disposed of as a Supplementary service, there is an Obligation to convene Public service.
3.In the wartime, All Military service obligators are obligated to enlist as conscription examination and active duty.

1.Same as above.
2.Military Service Act Violators, Overseas stayer, etc. are Subject to Supplementary service, Wartime Labor Service or Exempted from Military service according to the results of the Conscription examination.
38 to 40 In any case, No duty of Conscription Examantion and Enlist. Same as above.
41 to 45 1.End of Mandatory Military service from Peacetime(Soldier ranks)
2.Extension of Mandatory Military service from Wartime
Exemption from Service for Active Soldiers, Reserve Soldiers, Supplementary Soldiers, Wartime Labor Service in PeacetimeNote 2
46 or older End of Mandatory Military service from Peacetime and Wartime. Exemption from Service for Active, Reserve, Supplementary Soldiers, Wartime Labor Service in Peacetime and WartimeNote 2
Note 1: Some disabled person (mild disabled person). If the disability status of a disabled person changes at the age of 19, or if a reason for the return of the disabled registration card occurs, a Conscription Examination shall be performed.

Note 2:

Republic of Korea Armed Forces soldier (Byeong) ranks
English Korean
Army Navy Air Force Marine Corps
Sergeant Petty Officer Second Class Staff Sergeant Sergeant 병장
Corporal Petty Officer Third Class Senior Airman Corporal 상등병
Private First Class Seaman Airman First Class Lance Corporal 일등병
Private Second Class Seaman Apprentice Airman Private Second Class 이등병


Note 3: Retirement of Officers, Warrant officers, and Noncommissioned officers when they reach retirement age of rank from Military Personnel Management Act.[17]

History of military service age[edit]

1971 to 1984[edit]

Age Mandatory military service Duty of conscription examination and enlist, etc. Type of service
17 or younger - None. -
18 to 19 Subject for Mandatory Military service of Peacetime Assignment the 1st Citizen Service.
20 to 30 All Military service obligators are obligated to Conscription examination and Enlist/Call-up (Passed person from Conscription examination. Active duty is Enlist, Supplementry Service is Call-up) 1.According to the results of the Conscription examination. (Military Disposition. Active duty, Supplementary service, Wartime labor service or Exempted from Military service)
2.Those who are not Active (Serving), Reserve, or Supplementary Service are the 1st Citizen service.
3.When the Mandatory service (Active service) period is complated, they are transferred to Reserve service.
31 to 35 1.In the peacetime, All Military Service Obligators (Including those Military Service Act Violators, Oversea stayer, etc.) are no Conscription examination, Enlist, Supplementary Service Call-up (Exemption from Call)Note 1
2.In the wartime, All Military service obligators are obligated to enlist as conscription examination and active duty.
1.Same as above.
2.The 1st Citizen service that has not been Conscription examination and those Subject to Active Enlist (Subject to draft) who have not been notified of Active draft are transferred to Supplementary service.
36 to 40 In any case, No duty of Conscription Examantion and Enlist.
41 to 45 1.End of Mandatory Military service from Peacetime (Soldier ranks)
2.Extension of Mandatory Military service from Wartime
Exemption from Service for Active Soldiers, Reserve Soldiers, Supplementary Soldiers, Wartime Labor Service in PeacetimeNote 2
46 or older End of Mandatory Military service from Peacetime and Wartime. Exemption from Service for Active, Reserve, Supplementary Soldiers, 2nd Citizen Service in Peacetime and WartimeNote 2
Note 1: According to Article 7 of the Military Service Act Addenda in 1971, Military Service Act Violators(Conscription examination or Enlist refusers/dodgers) as of the enforcement year(1971) are obligated to Conscription examination and enlist.[18]
Note 2: Retirement of Officers, Warrant officers, and Noncommissioned officers when they reach retirement age of rank.

1984 to 1993[edit]

Age Mandatory military service Duty of conscription examination and enlist, etc. Type of service
17 or younger a 17 year old person (17 year old male) must report the incorporation of the 1st Citizen service to the Town mayor or Village Chief. No, But Possible the Voluntary enlist.
18 Subject for Mandatory Military service of Peacetime not enlisted from 1st Citizen Service
19 to 30 All Military service obligators are obligated to Conscription examination and Enlist/Call-up (Passed person from Conscription examination. Active duty is Enlist, Supplementry Service is Call-up) 1.According to the results of the Conscription examination. (Military Disposition. Active duty, Supplementary service, Wartime labor service or Exempted from Military service)
2.Those who are not Active (Serving), Reserve, or Supplementary Service are the 1st Citizen service.
3.When the Mandatory service (Active service) period is complated, they are transferred to Reserve service.
31 to 35 1.In the peacetime, All Military Service Obligators (Including those Military Service Act Violators, Oversea stayer, etc.) are no Conscription examination, Enlist, Supplementary Service Call-up (Exemption from Call)
2.In the wartime, All Military service obligators are obligated to enlist as conscription examination and active duty.
1.Same as above.
2.The 1st Citizen service that has not been Conscription examination and those Subject to Active Enlist (Subject to draft) who have not been notified of Active draft are transferred to Supplementary service.
36 to 40 In any case, No duty of Conscription Examantion and Enlist.
41 to 45 1.End of Mandatory Military service from Peacetime (Soldier ranks)
2.Extension of Mandatory Military service from Wartime
Exemption from Service for Active Soldiers, Reserve Soldiers, Supplementary Soldiers, Wartime Labor Service in PeacetimeNote
46 or older End of Mandatory Military service from Peacetime and Wartime. Exemption from Service for Active, Reserve, Supplementary Soldiers, 2nd Citizen Service in Peacetime and WartimeNote
Note: Retirement of Officers, Warrant officers, and Noncommissioned officers when they reach retirement age of rank.

1994 to 2010[edit]

Age Mandatory military service Duty of conscription examination and enlist, etc. Type of service
17 or younger a 17 year old person (17 year old male) must report the incorporation of the 1st Citizen service to the Town mayor or Village Chief. (Before February 5, 1999)
Military Manpower Administration takes over the Identity registration data of persons (17 year old male) who are enrollment to Military Service Registration (Assignment the Preliminary Military Service) in the following year from the Ministry of the Interior, and transmits them to the Local Military Manpower Office. (After February 5, 1999)
18 Subject for Mandatory Military service of Peacetime No, But Possible the Voluntary enlist. Assignment the 1st Citizen Service.
Persons with disabilities registered under the Disabled registration system is Wartime Labor Service or Exemption from Military Service.
19 to 30 All Military service obligators are obligated to Conscription examination and Enlist/Call-up (Passed person from Conscription examination. Active duty is Enlist, Supplementry Service is Call-up) 1.According to the results of the Conscription examination. (Military Disposition. Active duty, Supplementary service, Wartime labor service or Exempted from Military service)
2.When the Mandatory service (Active service) period is completed, they are transferred to reserve service.
31 to 35 1.In the peacetime, General Military service obligators are no Conscription examination and Enlist/Call-up

2.In the peacetime, Military Service Act Violators, Oversea stayer, etc. are obligated to Conscription examination. When disposed of as a Supplementary service, there is an Obligation to convene Public service.
3.In the wartime, All Military service obligators are obligated to enlist as conscription examination and active duty.

1.Same as above.
2.Military Service Act Violators, Overseas stayer, etc. are Subject to Supplementary service, Wartime Labor Service or Exempted from Military service according to the results of the Conscription examination.
38 to 40 In any case, No duty of Conscription Examination and Enlist. Same as above.
41 to 45 1.End of Mandatory Military service from Peacetime (Soldier ranks)
2.Extension of Mandatory Military service from Wartime
Exemption from Service for Active Soldiers, Reserve Soldiers, Supplementary Soldiers, Wartime Labor Service in PeacetimeNote
46 or older End of Mandatory Military service from Peacetime and Wartime. Exemption from Service for Active, Reserve, Supplementary Soldiers, Wartime Labor Service in Peacetime and WartimeNote
Note: Retirement of Officers, Warrant officers, and Noncommissioned officers when they reach retirement age of rank.

Determination criteria of physical grades[edit]

There are seven physical grades. Grade name is I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII. Before 1984 grades name is A, B (respectively B-I, B-II, B-III), C, D and E

Before 1984 After 1984
Name Korean Name Korean
Grade A 갑종 Grade I 1급
Grade B-I 제1을종 Grade II 2급
Grade B-II 제2을종 Grade III 3급
Grade B-III 제3을종 Grade IV 4급
Grade C 병종 Grade V 5급
Grade D 정종 Grade VI 6급
Grade E 무종 Grade VII 7급

I, II, III and IV is Accepted, and grades V, VI and VII is Rejected.

The criteria for determining the physical grade shall be in accordance with Attached form 2 and 3 of the "Rules for examination of Conscription Physical Examination, etc.(ko:병역판정 신체검사 등 검사규칙)" Attached form 2 sets the criteria for determining height and weight. Attached form 3 is the evaluation criteria for diseases and mental and physical disabilities, which vary from year to year.

In the following criteria, diseases and mental and physical disabilities are described mainly as representative or known.

Physical grades Accepted or Rejected Standards[19] Type of military service[20]
I Accepted Physical and Psychological constitution is healthy, and can serve in active duty or supplementary service.

Active duty, Supplementary service, and Wartime labor service based on Qualifications (Educational background, Age, etc.)

2
3
4
5 Rejected Those incapable of entering active or supplementary service. but capable of entering the wartime labor service Wartime labor service
6 Those incapable of performing military service due to disease or mental or physical disorder Exempted from Military service
7 In the case where grades I, II, III, IV, V, VI cannot be received due to Disease or Mental and Physical disability Subject to Rephysical examination
Physical grade Height (centimeters), weight (BMI) Disease or disabled
I
  • Height 161~203.9 cm:BMI20.0~24.9
  • A completely healthy person without illness or physical disability
  • Those in good condition after treatment of acute infectious diseases
II
  • Height 161~203.9 cm:BMI18.5~19.9・BMI25.0~29.9
  • Allergic rhinitis
III
  • Height 159~160 cm:BMI16.0~34.9
  • Height 161~203.9 cm:BMI16.0~18.4, BMI30.0~34.9
  • Hepatitis B carrier
  • Conservative treated or Operated PneumothoraxNote 1
  • Mental disease
    • Minior, Mild Depression
    • Minior, Mild Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Several Developmental Disability (ADHD, Learning Disability)
IV
  • Height 146~158 cm
  • Height 159~203.9 cm: Below BMI16.0 and BMI35.0 or Over
  • Height 204 cm or Over
  • Case of endoscopic surgery with either Early gastric cancer, Early colorectal cancer, or Carcinoid
  • Prodrome of Skin malignant tumor(Giant acromegaly condyloma, Bowen disease), Basal cell carcinoma
  • Mental disease
    • Borderline intellectual functioning
    • Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder (High-functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, PDD-NOS without Intellectual Disability)
V
  • Height 140.1~145 cm
  • Mental disease
    • Schizophrenia
    • Gender dysphoria
    • Mild Intellectual Disability
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder without Intellectual Disability (High-functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, PDD-NOS without Intellectual Disability)
VI
  • Height 140 cm or Below
  • Malignant tumor (Cancer)
    • Metastasized skin cancer
    • Bone cancer
  • HIV carrier
  • Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)
  • Mental disease
    • Schizophrenia with Personality devastated
    • Moderate, Severe and Profound Intellectual Disability
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder with Intellectual Disability (Low-functioning autism, Childhood disintegrative disorder)
VII
Note 1: Surgery due to pneumothorax is Grade V in 1992.

Disposition for military service by educational background and physical grade[edit]

According to Article 14 of the Military Service Act, grades I to IV are based on qualifications (education, age, etc.) and are subject to active service, supplementary, wartime workers, Grade V exemptions, Grade VI exemptions, and Grade VII medical examinations. The criteria for disposing of active duty or supplementary officers in grades I to IV are determined by the Military Manpower Administration's announcement (annual announcement of conscription inspection). According to the announcement, the criteria for military service are as follows.

  • : Active duty (현역, Subject to Enlist for Active duty. Subject to Draft)
  • : Supplementary service (보충역)
  • :Wartime labor service (전시근로역)[21]
  • : Exempted from Military service (병역면제)
  • : Subject to Physical Reexamination (재검사대상)
Disposition for military service by educational background and physical grade (after 2021)
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
Regardless Active duty Supplementary service Wartime Labor Service Exempted from Military service Subject to Physical reexamination

History of disposition for military service[edit]

1950s to 1969[edit]

Before the 1970s, the criteria for disposition of active duty and supplementary military service cannot be confirmed due to lack of data at the time.[22]

in 1950 to 1955[edit]

  • 1950: It was the first year in Republic of Korea that the Conscription was implemented. at that year, due to the limitation of 100,000 troops by the Korean military, the conscription system and Conscription examination were suspended. However, in June of the same year, when the Korean War broke out, There was an Unofficial conscription.
  • 1952: As the Conscription system was Implemented again, Conscription Examination began again.
Educational
background
Physical grade
A B-I B-II C D E
Regardless Accepted (Active duty, 1st Supplementary service, 2nd Supplementary service) 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination

1956[edit]

Educational background Physical grade
A B-I C D E
Regardless Accepted (Active duty, 1st Supplementary military service, 2nd Supplementary military service) 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination

1957[edit]

  • The supplementary military service was abolished by the enforcement of the revised Military Service Act from August 1957.[23]
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II C D E
Regardless Accepted
(Active duty, 1st Supplementary military service, 2nd Supplementary military service)
2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination

1958 to 1960[edit]

  • On February 24, 1958, there were Re-examination measures after canceling the judgment on 45,000 Grade C judges in the 1950 to 1957 Conscription examination.
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
Regardless Accepted (Active duty) 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination

1961[edit]

  • There was a physical examination of public officials who were judged to be Grade C.
  • In 1961, there was a physical examination of 128,422 embroidered persons who reported between June 21 and June 30, which was set as the period for reporting embroidery of those who failed to serve in the military.
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II C D E
Regardless Accepted (Active duty) 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination

1962[edit]

  • Those born on or after January 1, 1930 who have been punished for active service under the Military Service Act enacted before October 1, 1962 and who have not joined the army, will be transferred to the 1st supplementary role and will be supplemented. (Except for those who joined the National Land Construction Team(ko:국토건설단) in 1961.)
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III B-IV B-V C D E
Regardless Accepted (Active duty)
(After Oct, 1st 1962, Active duty, 1st Supplementary service, 2nd Supplementary service)
2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination

1963 to 1969[edit]

  • Among those who were examined for conscription in 1962, those who were judged to be Grade B4 and B5 were transferred to Grade C and converted to 2nd Citizen service.
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
Regardless Accepted (Active duty, 1st Supplementary service, 2nd Supplementary service) 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination

After 1970s[edit]

1970[edit]

Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout
Elementry school Graduated
Elementry school Dropout or less Active duty Supplementary service

1971[edit]

Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout Active duty Supplementary service
Elementry school Graduated
Elementry school Dropout or less Active duty Supplementary service

1972[edit]

Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout
Elementry school Graduated
Elementry school Dropout or less Active duty Supplementary service

1973[edit]

  • Middle school Graduated or more
    • Grade A, B-I, B-II: Active duty
    • Grade B-III: Supplementary service
  • Elementry school Graduated or more, Middle school Dropout or less
    • Grade A: Active duty
    • Grade B-I, B-II, B-III: Supplementary service
  • Elementry school Dropout or less: 2nd Citizen service
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout Active duty Supplementary service
Elementry school Graduated
Elementry school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1974 to 1976[edit]

  • College attending or more
    • Grade A, B-I, B-II: Active duty
    • Grade B-III: Supplementary service
  • Middle school Graduated or more, High school Dropout or less
    • Grade A, B-I: Active duty
    • Grade B-II, B-III: Supplementary service
  • Elementry school Graduated or more, Middle school Dropout or less
    • Grade A: Active duty
    • Grade B-I, B-II, B-III: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated Active duty Supplementary service
High school Graduated
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout Active duty Supplementary service
Elementry school Graduated
Elementry school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1977 to 1979[edit]

  • College attending or more
    • Grade A, B-I, B-II, B-III: Active duty
  • High school Graduated or less
    • Grade A, B-I: Active duty
    • Grade B-II, B-III: Supplementary service
  • Middle school Dropout or less: 2nd Citizen service
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
College attending or more Active duty 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated Active duty Supplementary service
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1980 to 1983[edit]

  • College attending or more
    •  Grade A, B-I, B-II: Active duty
    •  Grade B-III: Supplementary service
  • High school Graduated or less
    •  Grade A: Active duty
    •  Grade B-I, II, III: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
A B-I B-II B-III C D E
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated Active duty Supplementary service
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1984[edit]

In 1984, Change of Physical Grade Name.

Before 1984 After 1984
Name Korean Name Korean
A 갑종 I 1급
B-I 제1을종 II 2급
B-II 제2을종 III 3급
B-III 제3을종 IV 4급
C 병종 V 5급
D 정종 VI 6급
E 무종 VII 7급
  • College attending or more
    •  Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    •  Grade IV: Supplementary service
  • High school Graduated
    •  Grade I, II: Active duty
    •  Grade III, IV: Supplementary service
  • High school Dropout or less
    •  Grade I: Active duty
    •  Grade II, III, IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated Active duty Supplementary service
High school Dropout Active duty Supplementary service
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1985[edit]

Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated Active duty Supplementary service
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1986[edit]

Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated Active duty Supplementary service
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1987[edit]

  • High school Graduated or more
    •  Grade I, II: Active duty
    •  Grade III, IV: Supplementary service
  • High school Dropout or less
    •  Grade I: Active duty
    •  Grade II, III, IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout Active duty Supplementary service
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1988 to 1991[edit]

  • 1988: Skipped Conscription Examination of Elementry school Graduated or less
  • 1989: Those aged 25 or older among those graduating from High school will be converted to Supplementary service.
  • June 1, 1991: High school graduates who are 162 centimeters or less, high school graduates and those who are above university students, and who are Grade II (and III, IV) due to myopia of ophthalmology, will be converted to Supplementary service. (A person who was Conscription examined from 1990)
  • November 15, 1991: Those who graduated from high school and a Physical grade II will be converted to Supplementary service. (A person who was Conscription examined from 1991)
  • January 1, 1992: Middle school Dropout or less is Supplementary service. (Exemption from Call of Bangwi)
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout Supplementary service
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1992[edit]

  • Middle school Graduated or more, Physical grade I, II, III, IV: Active duty. But, on October 30 of the same year, it was changed as follows:
    • High school Graduated or more, Physical grade III, IV: converted to Supplementary service
    • High school Dropout or less, Physical grade I, II, III, IV: converted to Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1993[edit]

  • High school Graduated or more
    • Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
  • High school Dropout and Middle school Graduated with Grade I, II, III, IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout Supplementary service
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1994[edit]

  • High school Graduated or more with Grade I, II, III, IV: Active duty
  • High school Dropout
    • Grade I: Active duty
    • Grade II, III, IV: Supplementary service
  • Middle school Graduated with Grade I, II, III, IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout Active duty Supplementary service
Middle school Graduated Supplementary service
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1995 to 1996[edit]

  • High school Graduated or more
    • Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
  • Those who graduated from middle school and a Physical grade I, II, III, IV will be converted to Supplementary service from 1996
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1997[edit]

  • High school Dropout or more
    • Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
  • Middle school Graduated
    • Grade I, II, III, IV: Supplementary service
  • High school Dropout with Physical grade III: converted to Supplementary service from June 2, 1997
  • High school Dropout with Physical grade II: converted to Supplementary service from January 1, 1998
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated Supplementary service
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

1998 to 2003[edit]

  • High school Graduated or more
    • Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
  • Middle school Graduated, High school Dropout
    • Grade I, II, III, IV: Supplementary service
  • 1999 to 2011
  • Skipped Conscription Examination with Transferred the 2nd Citizen service of Middle school Dropout or less in 1999 to 2011
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout Supplementary service
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

2004[edit]

  • Middle school Graduated or more
    • Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

2005[edit]

  • College attending or more with Grade I, II, III, IV: Active duty
  • Middle school Graduated and High school Dropout
    • Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated Active duty Supplementary service
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

2006 to 2011[edit]

  • Middle school Graduated or more
    • Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less 2nd Citizen service

2012 to 1st half of 2015[edit]

  • Middle school Graduated or more
    • Grade I, II, III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
  • Middle school Dropout or less with Physical Grade I, II, III, IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service 2nd Citizen service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout
Middle school Graduated
Middle school Dropout or less Supplementary service

External links

2nd half of 2015 to 2020[edit]

  • High school Graduated or more
    • Grade I, II and III: Active duty
    • Grade IV: Supplementary service
  • High school Dropout of less with Physical grade I, II, III, IV: Supplementary service
Educational background Physical grade
I II III IV V VI VII
College attending or more Active duty Supplementary service Wartime Labor Service Exempted from Military service Subject to Rephysical examination
High school Graduated
High school Dropout or less Supplementary service

External links

Service types and length[edit]

Grade 1, 2, 3 and 4: those are suitable for military service (현역)[edit]

The length of compulsory military service in South Korea varies based on military branch.[24] Active duty soldiers serve 1 year 6 months in the Army or Marine Corps, 1 year 8 months in the Navy, or 1 year 9 months in the Air Force.[25] After conscripts finish their military service, they are automatically placed on the reserve roster and are obligated to attend 3 days of annual military training for 6 years[citation needed] (5 years from 2021).

Non-active duty personnel, or "supplemental service" personnel serve for various lengths: 1 year 9 months for social work personnel (better known as public service workers - personnel ordered to do public service work at places that require auxiliary workers such as local community centers like city halls, government agencies, and public facilities like subway stations);[26] 2 years 10 months for arts and sports personnel or industrial technical personnel; and 3 years for public health doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, or expert researchers.[27]

In 2010, there was growing public pressure to either shorten the length of conscription or to switch to voluntary military service, and calls from experts for a gradual phasing out of conscription rather than complete abolition.[28] However, in December 2010, after taking into consideration of the 2010 ROKS Cheonan sinking and Bombardment of Yeonpyeong incidents, the South Korean government said it would not reduce service periods.[29]

Grade 4: those are unsuitable for the military service (보충역)[edit]

Art-sports service agent (예술체육요원)[edit]

Artists and players who have won government accredited competitions are allowed to work as 'Art-Sports service agents (예술체육요원)'. After a month of military training, Art-Sports service agents work through their specialties to finish their military services; e.g. in professional sports teams, art galleries, museums or orchestra bands. Unlike other service agents who are working at factories, farms, universities, institutes or nursing homes, Art-Sports service agents are allowed to work abroad.[citation needed]

Former president Park Chung-hee introduced exemptions for athletes in 1973 in an effort to win more medals for the country; some historians believe the athletics also served as a distraction against the government's unpopularity.[30] After winning a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics, wrestler Yang Jung-mo was granted the first exemption. In the 1980s, president Chun Doo-hwan promised exemptions to any athlete who won a medal in either the 1986 Asian Games or the 1988 Summer Olympics.[30]

When South Korea co-hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2002, their national team was guaranteed an exemption if they reached the round of 16; the same promise was made to the national baseball team in 2006 if the team reached semifinals in the World Baseball Classic. Public outrage ensued, and similar exemptions have been rarely granted since.[30]

Current conscription regulations stipulate that athletes who win medals in the Olympic Games or gold medals in the Asian Games are granted exemptions from military service and are placed in Grade 4.[31] They are required to do four weeks of basic military training and engage in sports field for 42 months. After that, they are automatically placed on the reserve roster, and are obligated to attend a few days of annual military training for six years. In practice, after athletes finish their four weeks of basic military training, they are able to continue their own sports career during the 34 months of duty.[32]

The policy has resulted in coaches being accused of selecting players desperate to avoid military service instead of choosing the best athletes. Parents encourage their children to pursue sports in hopes of them receiving an exemption.[30]

Notable athletes who have been granted exemptions from military service are the bronze medal-winning football team at the 2012 Summer Olympics,[33][34] 2008 Olympic gold medalist badminton player Lee Yong-dae,[35] swimmer Park Tae-hwan,[36][37] 2014 Asian Games gold medalist tennis player Chung Hyeon,[38] 2018 Asian Games gold medalist footballer Son Heung-min, and 2018 Asian Games gold medalist baseball player Lee Jung-hoo.

Esport competitors are not exempt from conscription.[39][failed verification]

A total of 220 exemptions were granted from 2008 to 2018.[30]

Exemptions are also granted to classical musicians and ballet performers who win first place in stipulated international-level competitions. A two year extension for notable K-pop artists (from a law that was passed in December 2020) could also be given by government for their career, the age for joining military is 30 (which previously was 28). Some resources and media outlets claim that the primary reason for this amendment was singer-songwriter Kim Seok-jin, who, at the time, was about to turn 28.[40][41] As his group BTS has had a huge impact (especially in the music industry) worldwide and contributed greatly to the spread of the Korean culture and Hallyu Wave, exemptions for them were in talks for a few years.[42][43]

Conscientious objection[edit]

The right to conscientious objection was not recognized in South Korea until recently. Over 400 men were typically imprisoned at any given time for refusing military service for political or religious reasons in the years before right to conscientious objection was established.[44]

On 28 June 2018, the South Korean Constitutional Court ruled the Military Service Act unconstitutional and ordered the government to accommodate civilian forms of military service for conscientious objectors.[45] Later that year on 1 November 2018, the South Korean Supreme Court legalized conscientious objection as a basis for rejecting compulsory military service.[46]

Salary and benefits[edit]

Salary per month in 2017[47]

Private (이등병) Private first class (일등병) Corporal (상등병) Sergeant (병장)
₩163,000
₩176,400
₩195,500
₩216,000

Salary per month in 2021

Private (이등병) Private first class (일등병) Corporal (상등병) Sergeant (병장)
₩459,100
₩496,900
₩549,200
₩608,500

Equipment[edit]

The Ministry of National Defense has revealed that it failed to provide sneakers to 7,411 recruits who joined the military from 22 May to 4 June 2012, after the budget was insufficient for need. The Defense ministry originally projected the cost of each pair of sneakers to be 11,000 KRW. However, the actual cost turned out to be 15,000 KRW.[48]

The office of National Assembly member Kim Kwang-jin of Democratic United Party revealed that cadets in Korea Military Academy were provided with sneakers worth 60,000 KRW and tennis shoes. Cadets in Korea Army Academy at Yeongcheon were provided with sneakers worth 64,250 KRW, in addition to running shoes and soccer shoes.[49]

Dual citizens[edit]

For dual citizens, or those with multiple citizenships, male South Koreans must choose their citizenship by the time they turn 18, before 31 March of that year. If these males choose to revoke their South Korean citizenship, they will not be required to complete their mandatory military service. However, if they fail to choose their citizenship by their 18th year, they will be subjected to fulfill their mandatory military service[50] and, for those who wish to maintain their multiple citizenships, an oath not to exert foreign nationality within two years since finishing their military service.[51] If males choose to renounce their citizenship by their 18th year, they are ineligible to gain a South Korean work visa (F series) until after they turn 40 years of age. It may still be possible to gain an E series visa.

There have been cases of Koreans abroad (e.g. Korean Americans) being forced to serve in the military, as they were unaware they were actually citizens of South Korea. This happens when these people visit South Korea. One cause of this is the inadvertent inclusion on the family register.[52]

Controversies[edit]

Violation of Forced Labour Convention[edit]

The Forced Labour Convention explicitly excludes "any work or service exacted in virtue of compulsory military service laws for work of a purely military character" from its scope.[53] However, ILO defines conscription of non-military purpose as forced labour.[54]

According to ILO, Korean conscription violates the forced labour convention, because Korea enroll men with disabilities for non-military purposes. Majority (+90%) of the "Reserve - class 4 -" works as "social service agent (사회복무요원)", and work with wages far less than the minimum legal wage at various fields including government offices, subway stations, tax offices, post offices and sanitarium.[53]

In April 2021, Korea ratified the Forced Labour Convention. But the conscription of Korea did not change. Korea changed its conscription law by providing "right to decide to be enrolled" to "reserve - class 4 -. those with minor disabilities". Korea claims that this change makes the conscription legitimate because "reserve - class 4-" now have right to decide their methods of conscription between soldiers with active duty and "social service agents".[53]

However, ILO informed that enforcing "reserve - class 4-" to work as "social service agent" is a violation of the Forced Labour Convention in a number of their annual reports.[53]

Hazing[edit]

Lowering standards of acceptance[edit]

In recent years, the South Korean government is preparing a policy to lower conscription standards for mental and physical conditions that would previously be considered exempt, as it fears that the nation's low birthrate will lead to fewer conscripts. South Korea in 2021 has the lowest fertility rate in the world, a title also bestowed on the country the previous year.[55] However, experts warn that such actions will lead to wider problems already present in the military, by recruiting personnel who would not be able to adapt to the closed military.[56]

Draft evasion[edit]

In general, the South Korean public tends to be intolerant towards men who attempt to evade mandatory military service or receive special treatment, especially if they are exploiting family wealth or political connections. Draft evasion is a punishable crime, but many entertainers, athletes, politicians and their children are known to have fabricated medical or other reasons to seek exemption from military service.[57][58] According to a 2017 report by the Military Manpower Administration, the most common evasion tactic was extreme weight loss or gain (37%), followed by fabrication of mental illness (23.7%), and deliberate full-body tattoos (20.3%).[59] Studying abroad or migrating overseas to obtain foreign citizenship are considered the preferred option for sons in wealthy families, while nearly a hundred high-ranking politicians including sitting members of the National Assembly have managed to arrange unexplained exemptions for their sons.[60] These cases of draft evasion are to be distinguished from conscientious objection on political or religious grounds.

Yoo Seung-jun[edit]

In 2002, right before South Korean pop singer Yoo Seung-jun was due to be drafted for his military service, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He was born in Seoul and migrated to the United States at the age of 13. The South Korean government considered it an act of desertion and deported him, banning him from entering the country permanently.[61] In February 2017, Yoo lost his second and final appeal regarding his entry ban which prohibited him from entry and any further appeals.[62] However, citing procedural irregularities, the South Korean Supreme Court re-opened the case in July 2019 and sent the case to the Seoul High Court, ordering them to retry Yoo's case.[63] In November 2019, the appeals court reversed the ban, paving the way for Yoo to return to the country, pending approval of a visa.[64] One of Yoo's visa requests was denied in July 2020 by the Los Angeles Consulate, citing Korean law that allows discretion in denying visas to applicants that "posed a threat to public interest."[65]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 병역이행안내 - 개요(총괄) [Military Service Implementation Guide - General Overview]. Military Manpower Organization (in Korean). Retrieved 28 December 2017.
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External links[edit]