SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — With the number of artists eligible for special exemptions from military service set to be reduced, the arts community in question has responded with a backlash to the government’s decision.
According to the government’s “Plan to Improve the Alternative Military Service System” released Thursday, 10 competitions that allow winners to serve alternative military service will be abolished or reduced among the existing 48 domestic and foreign competitions.
The Ministry of National Defense explained that the number of individuals qualifying for the special exemption of military service could be cut by 17 to 33 percent.
International competitions that will no longer qualify individuals for alternative military service do not meet global standards for competitions of their type, or are unstable due to financial difficulties.
The Pablo Casals International Cello Competition, Helsinki International Ballet Competition, New York International Ballet Competition and Rudolf Nureyev International Ballet Competition were excluded under the new plan.
Over the past four years, only two, or 2.1 percent, have received special benefits for winning these competitions.
It is domestic competitions that will experience the biggest blow in the art world.
In particular, the government judged that the Korea International Contemporary Dance Competition and the Seoul International Dance Concours will no longer qualify individuals for military service exemption.
Through these two competitions, 19 people have received military service benefits over the past four years, equivalent to 20.2 percent of those eligible for military service in the art industry over the past four years.
In response, Cho Nam-kyu, chairman of the organizing committee of the Korea International Contemporary Dance Competition, said, “It is unreasonable to exclude winners of the competition from benefits just because Koreans took first or second place.”
“Korean dancers are being tested for their outstanding skills in the world dance scene, so the reason why there are so many Korean winners at the competition is because of this global trend,” he countered.
The status of such competitions is expected to reduce the number of slots available for alternative military service for artists.
The top two competitions of contemporary dance, the Korea International Contemporary Dance Competition and the Seoul International Dance Competition, are likely to be severely affected of their status without military service benefits.
Meanwhile, although the Korea Theatre Festival and the Korean Art Competition have failed to produce those eligible for military service benefits for the past four years, it is expected that this time, as they will be excluded qualifying winners for military service exemption, their status will inevitably fall.
D. M. Park (email@example.com)