Conscription in South Korea
The Republic of Korea maintains a strict conscription regime. Registration for conscription is automatic for men in the year they turn 18, followed by medical examination when they are 19. The duty to enlist in the Armed Forces lasts until the age of 31, but in case of draft evaders until 36.
Military service lasts two years. However, large parts of conscripts (almost 200_000 out of 300000-350000 conscripts annually) perform most of their service in public administrations or elsewhere, and only perform four weeks of basic military training. For those, military service lasts 26 months. Which kind of service has to be performed depends on the medical examination, and the needs of the military.
After discharge from service, conscripts are obliged to serve approximately 160 hours of military training over a period of eight years.
Of a total of 680000 soldiers in the Korean military, about 75% are conscripts. Commissioned and non-commissioned officers are professional soldiers and account for the remaining 25%. According to the "Defence Reform Plan 2020", South Korea aims to increase the number of professional soldiers to 40% by 2020.
Conscientious objection is not recognised, and annually about 600 conscientious objectors receive prison sentences of 18 months. The great majority of conscientious objectors are Jehovah's Witnesses, but since 2001 the number of non-religios conscientious objectors has increased. Since 1939, more than 15000 conscientious objectors served prison sentences for their refusal to perform military service.