Nineties K-pop Star Yoo Seung Joon claimed that the government's entry ban preventing him from entering Korea is "strict discrimination and a violation of human rights." He continued to stress that "Even if I am called Steven Yoo and not Yoo Seung Joon, my roots are still in Korea. The fact that I am one of many overseas Koreans who miss their home country remains unchanged."
Yoo Seung Joon was one of the most popular stars in K-pop in the nineties but that all changed due to one decision. He was banned permanently from entering Korea ever since denouncing his Korean residency back in 2002 and, instead, obtaining a U.S. citizenship, in order to dodge serving in the military.
On October 13, Yoo Seung Joon left a lengthy letter directed to the Military Manpower Administration chief.
The letter was specifically directed to chief Mo Jong Hwa, who attended the National Defense Commission's parliamentary audit and stated that Yoo Seung Joon's entry ban should be maintained. The chief of the Military Manpower Administration stated, "Steve Yoo has voluntarily abandoned his mandatory military service duty and has repeatedly promised the Korean citizens that he will fulfill his military duty fairly but has refused to do so." Chief Mo Jung Hwa also added that if Yoo Seung Joon were to be permitted into the country and he returns to the entertainment industry, the men serving in the military would feel unjust. Therefore, Chief Mo stated that the entry ban should remain in place from the Military Manpower Administration's standpoint.
In response to this, Yoo Seung Joon replied, "I still feel apologetic that I failed to keep my promise to join the military in 2002, which disappointed many people. However, I don't think it's fair to impose an indefinite entry ban on the issue on the grounds of security for the Republic of Korea and to continue to refuse to lift the ban for over 18 years."
Yoo Seung Joon explained that he had immigrated to the U.S. with his family and earned permanent residency. He stated there was no institutional consideration for permanent residents in the military service at the time; therefore, he had to obtain citizenship to live with his family. Yoo Seung Joon argued, "I understand it is not illegal for a permanent resident to obtain citizenship. Is it illegal that I failed to keep my promise?"
He continued to argue, "There are more than 20,000 people who have been relieved of their military service obligations by acquiring foreign citizenship in the past five years. But I am the first and the only person in the history of Korea who has been banned from entering into the country because I obtained citizenship to avoid military service."
Yoo Seung Joon also stressed, "Although it is wrong that I was not able to keep my promise as a celebrity, it is serious discrimination and violation of human rights to prevent an individual from entering into the country for many years."
He concluded the message by saying, "It is very regrettable and unfair that the government recently refused to issue a visa to me even though the Supreme Court ruled that I should be issued a visa in the lawsuit that has continued for five years. I am very disappointed that the Military Manpower Administration chief expressed his position that the entry ban should be maintained. I expect the court to make a correct judgment on the recent lawsuit that was filed again."