The South Korean government unveiled revised measures on how to resolve the expected shortage of military manpower amid a shrinking population.
Defense ministry officials said Thursday the country will cut slots for alternative military service eligible to work at state-designated institutes and companies instead of serving in the military by about 13-hundred from the current 75-hundred slots.
While the quota for experts enrolled in doctoral programs will remain unchanged at one-thousand experts with master degrees will be gradually reduced by 20-percent to 12-hundred.
Instead, the number of people assigned to small-and-medium-sized enterprises is to be increased a measure aimed at helping SMEs retain personnel.
The number of onboard ship reserve personnel who can alternatively work as merchant sailors to take part in the transport of critical materials in the event of war, will be lowered to 800 from one-thousand.
Changes were minimal regarding those allowed alternative service for achievements in the arts and sports.
Exemptions to compulsory military service remain unchanged granted to those that have won gold medals in the Asian Games as well as gold, silver, bronze medalists in the Olympic Games.
But officials say they'll raise transparency in the roster process particularly sports entries that require multiple players to compete a team.
This comes as allegations were raised that some players of the national baseball team last year were accused of using the Asian Games to get exempted.
"Although there's been some controversy on whether to include team disciplines in the Asian Games, the public seems to be inspired by their' performance particularly those that achieve good results in unpopular sports entries."
Despite expectations of a possible revision to include exemptions for K-pop stars like BTS those cases were not included in the recent revision.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.