Asia News: BTS, Guarneri Trio Prague, TKTS

at MetLife Stadium MetLife Stadium in New Jersey May 18.

South Korean Government Declines To Modify Military Exemptions 
Earlier this month, the South Korean government announced that it would not increase the incentive for athletes and musicians in military exemption, which means that the oldest member of the world’s number one K-pop group of the moment, BTS, will have to report for his mandatory military service next year. Fans were hoping for a dispensation.
All South Korean men over the age of 18 must serve at least 21 months in the armed forces starting before they turn 28. At present, male athletes can receive an exemption from service if they receive a medal at the Olympics or get a top award at the Asian Games. Exemptions are also given to artists who come in first or second place at international arts competitions.
No such exceptions are made for pop musicians, however, a situation that has riled people who say it is not fair, since the idea of providing exemptions to athletes, classical musicians, dancers, etc., is that they spread Korean culture worldwide. Undoubtedly, K-pop has done this better than any other Korean endeavor.
Nevertheless, the government has decided for the time being not to change the policy to include pop artists, which means the members of BTS will start enlisting starting next year, even though they have won many international awards and have even topped a number of international music charts. Jin will be the first as he turns 28 next June.
According to Korea News Plus, Jin seems resigned to his fate and believes it is his duty to serve. 
Since the youngest member of BTS was born in 1997, he does not have to enlist until 2026, but by that time all the other members will have served or will be serving. Theoretically, BTS as it’s currently configured could be out of the music scene for seven or eight years. Rumors are circulating as to whether BTS will replace members or simply go on with a smaller number.
Classical Shows Canceled In China

On Sept. 8 the Chinese government announced that it was cancelling a scheduled performance by the Guarneri Trio Prague, a classical music ensemble. The action follows cancellations of two Czech musical groups in August. 

According to Czech media, the cancellations are aimed at “humiliating” the mayor of Prague, Zdenek Hrib, who visited Taiwan in March and who has been a vocal critic of China’s human rights record.
After taking office last November, Hrib wanted to alter Prague’s sister city agreement with Beijing by removing a clause that stated “Taiwan is part of China,” saying that the clause was unfair to Taiwan. Then during his visit to Taiwan in March, Hrib praised the capital city of Taipei and pledged cooperation on some projects. Last month, China cancelled scheduled performances by two Prague-based classical music groups, the Prazak Quartet and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. An upcoming performance by the Prague Philharmonia will also be cancelled. 

Beijing insists that Taiwan is part of China and does not tolerate any discussion of its independent nature. 

A followup report on Radio Prague International said that Czech Minister of Culture Lubomir Zaoralek objected to the cancellations to the Chinese ambassador to the Czech Republic, saying that they “have damaged bilateral relations.”
TKTS Arrives In Japan
TKTS, the famous discount ticket booth that has been a fixture on Times Square in New York City for years, has opened its first outlets in Japan. 
The first one is located in the Tokyo youth mecca of Shibuya near the Hikarie shopping and entertainment complex. 
According to Timeout Tokyo, it offers tickets to select events and shows on the day they take place or one day before the day they take place. 
The discounts range from 20 to 50 percent. Unlike the New York booth, which only sells tickets for Broadway shows, Tokyo TKTS also provides tickets for traditional Japanese performing arts, concerts and sporting events. It also has some tickets for exhibitions. 
The service does not offer online reservations. In order to get discount tickets, the buyer must show up in person at the TKTS outlet, but they can find out what’s available on the dedicated website. The service is available in a multitude of languages.
More outlets are now opening at other locations in the city, and one outlet opened in Osaka on Sept. 5.