Korean singer exiled after refusing army enlistment may have ban uplifted

2 January 2014 / 2 years 9 months ago

Singer Yoo Seung-jun, a popular star in the 1990s who was banned from entering Korea after he refused to undergo his mandatory military service, is rumored to be considering making a comeback, according to Ilgan Sports, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily.

With the pop culture of the 1990s enjoying a resurgence these days, many industry experts predict that Yoo has a decent chance of overcoming the 12-year ban and enjoying popularity once again.

The singer, also known as Steve Yoo, was born in Seoul but moved to the United States as a teenager. After returning to Korea in 1997 and becoming a pop star, he repeatedly said that serving in the military was important and promised to do it. But in 2002, just before he was supposed to enlist, Yoo became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

In response, the Korean government banned him from Korea indefinitely (although he was allowed to enter in 2003 to attend the funeral of his father-in-law).

The Ministry of Justice said that a ban is personal information so the government cannot announce whether one has been lifted.

But the Military Manpower Administration said, despite 35 years being the age limit for enlisting, their ban would stay in place until Yoo is at least 40.

However, a close acquaintance of Yoo told local media that the singer has no immediate plans to come to Korea. 

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