Military Denies Report that Yoo Seung Jun’s Ban from Korea Will Be Lifted

Steve Yoo

Yesterday, it was reported by Ilgan Sports that singer Yoo Seung Jun (born 1976) will be able to return to Korea early this year, but the Military Manpower Administration has come to say it has no plans to approve the lift of his ban. It has been 12 years since Yoo Seung Jun left Korea due to being engulfed in the controversy of trying to avoid mandatory military service, and his name was put on the list of prohibition of entry into Korea. 

According to Ilgan Sports, one of Yoo Seung Jun’s closest advisors stated, “The prohibition of entry into Korea against Yoo Seung Jun will be lifted this month. Through help from his current agency in China, JC Group International with CEO Jackie Chan, he is planning to make a comeback within the first half of this year. Yoo Seung Jun still misses his Korean fans and the Korean stage. He longs to return to Korea.” 

Ilgan Sports continued to report that the Military Manpower Administration stated, “He is over the age of 35, which is the maximum age to receive the imposition of military service; thus we cannot impose sanctions against his reentry. It is the jurisdiction of the Justice Department.” It also wrote that a representative of the Korea Immigration Bureau stated, “Yoo Seung Jun is a foreigner with a U.S. citizenship. The government decides whether to allow foreigners entry to the country. Information regarding the clearing of his entry ban cannot be revealed because it is personal information.” 

However, the Military Manpower Administration corrected this news released by Ilgan Sports, stating, “As someone who breached military service law and obtained U.S. citizenship, he cannot be the object of reconsideration. It is something that absolutely cannot be approved. There has been no change from our original stance.” 

It also stated, “We have never relayed an official statement to the media about Yoo Seung Jun’s ban lift. Since he breached military service law, he cannot be the subject of reconsideration until 40 years of age. We don’t have any plans to lift his prohibition of entry. Even if Yoo Seung Jun passes 41 years of age, he has to receive permission from the Minister of Justice for the ban to be lifted.”

Yoo Seung Jun debuted in 1997 singing many hits including “Nightmare,” and “Na Na Na,” and rose to the top. In early 2000, he gained a favorable impression from many people when he declared, “I will enlist in the army and fulfill my duty as a man of the Republic of Korea.” In 2001, he received class-four physical disability after undergoing surgery for a herniated disc. Even then, he stood firm in his position saying, “I will serve time as a public service worker.”

However, three months before his enlistment, Yoo Seung Jun returned to the U.S. obtaining his U.S. citizenship, which engulfed him in the controversy. The public felt betrayed, and their fury did not settle down. The Korean government also considered his decision to avoid military service as a sign of renouncing his Korean citizenship. His name was put on the list of prohibition of entry into Korea under the 11th article of the Immigration Control Act. In May of 2006, he was allowed temporary entry in to Korea to attend a funeral. At the scene of his entry, a man dressed in military uniform threw eggs at him, and the criticism continued.

Previously, Yoo Seung Jun made an attempt to show his life in the U.S. in a documentary through Mnet in 2005. However, he gave up after receiving much criticism. In 2008, he signed with JC Group starring in films, “Little Big Soldier,” and “The Patriot Yue Fei.” In the same year, he tried to make an appearance on MBC’s “Never-ending Story – Jackie Chan,” but his plans misfired and received criticism. 

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