Military service / Conscription

In North Korea, military service is mandated by the constitution.

North Korea stipulates the duty of military service in Article 86 of the Constitution, and a cabinet decision in 1958 stipulates that the military service period is three years and six months for the ground army and four years for the naval and air forces. However, he was supposed to work for five to eight years. In addition, Kim Jong Il’s instructions allowed him to be discharged from service in April 1993 for 10 years. (Koichi Ishizaka, Chapter 51 to Know North Korea)

The length of service appears to vary by assignment.

The service years of soldiers are stipulated to be 3 years, 6 months to 4 years, but in reality, 7 to 10 years for the ground army, 6 to 8 years for the Navy and Air Force, 8 to 9 years for technical soldiers, It takes 11 to 12 years for special units such as light infantry. This long service is intended to maintain more than one million active troops. However, the Military Service Law enacted in March 2003 reduced men’s time from 13 to 10 years, and women’s time from 10 to 7 years, respectively. (Jun Shimizu, “North Korean Army”)

If you are a privileged class or have connections, you can shorten the service period.

My father joined the military as a teen. Like most North Korean men in the middle and upper reaches, his father was to serve for ten years, but with connections he was able to shorten it to two years. Without a military background, you can’t get a good job (Park Yong-mi, “The Choice to Live”)

He enters military service when he graduates from junior high school, who is between the ages of 11 and 16.

Upon graduation from high school and junior high school, the future of young people is almost fixed, especially during the recruitment of the military. By the age of their children going to military service, privileged groups are enrolled in college or abuse their authority to study abroad with state funding. When entering the army, they are forced to study abroad in military units or withdraw for a year after serving.
Young people who are not physically disabled suffer severely if they cannot join the army. If the ingredients are so bad that they cannot be “recruited” to the military, they will have to spend their entire lifetime working as uncertain socially unrecognizable entities. (Yun Dae-il, North Korean National Security Agency)

Songbun is important for selection criteria as follows.

There are various selection criteria for military recruitment. The first criterion is for Songbun to select an aviator from the most healthy and healthy subjects, the second subject to Kim Jong Il’s personal security escort, and the third to the navy. Younger children from families with bad or problematic Songbuns must work in mining and construction-only units during their entire service period. (Ibid.)
The elite, who was screened from Songbun to the 8th degree, was often selected as a guide to the Central Committee of the Party, standing on a sentry (guard) in a high-ranking mansion or as a guide to the service department reporting directly to the Central Party. , Dispatched overseas.
When they get married, they cannot choose a spouse on their own, and the party decides who they are. The remaining general soldiers are children of laborers who cannot return home even after being discharged, and are burned to work like a stone at a construction site or other workplace. Frequently, labor is forced to be placed in mines and mines. (Anchol brothers, “North Korea seen by a secret camera”)

At the age of 14, he is registered as a candidate for recruitment.

All adolescents are 14 years old and are enrolled in the Korean People’s Army, and undergo physical examination twice at the age of 16 when they graduate from high school. Once enlisted, they are gathered at the Military Mobilization Bureau’s “Recruitment Stations” and enter the troops’ training camps directly under their divisions to begin military life.
(Kim Ki-sung, “Introduction to North Korea”)
In North Korea, the military recruits applicants and selects those who pass. And the newly recruited young people were called “recruiters.”
(Ju Seong Il “North Korean People’s Army: Barracks in Living Hell”)
pproximately one-quarter of North Korean service members have been disqualified because of intellectual disability caused by childhood malnutrition, the US State Intelligence Council points out. (Brain Harden, Escape from the 14th Office)

Women’s enlistment is limited to virgins. North Korean women are regularly screened for virginity.

Physical examination proceeded in the order of internal medicine, surgery, otolaryngology, and under the eyes, but for girls, another obstetric examination was added. Women’s enlistment is limited to virgins. However, of the forty people who came to the physical examination, only two were diagnosed as virgins.
(“Carrot thief”)

Women’s enlistment is often not a recruitment, but a volunteer or pressure.

The Korean People’s Army has a very high percentage of women. It accounts for about 10% of all military personnel. Women are often encouraged or pressured to volunteer without being recruited. Women are drawn to opportunities for education, promotion and admission. They are usually hired as correspondents, clerks, and medical staff, but many are assigned to AA artillery or serve in coastal defense units.
(Andrey Lankov, North of the DMZ: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea,)

The following testimony shows that only a dozen members of a class serve in military service.

Of the twenty men in high school, twelve or three would have gone to the army. (Asahi Newspaper Aera editorial department “exiles from North Korea”)
Immediately after leaving high school, he joined the army. Higher secondary school is a boys’ school, and out of about 50 people in class, 20 percent went to the army. (Ibid.)

n the next exchange, the word “unified soldier” appears. Uniform soldiers are soldiers who remain in service even after their military service has expired.

“Isn’t the discharge too far?”
“I’m getting discharged. Well, I don’t know when I’ll be discharged, but I’m going to remain as a united soldier.”
“Unified Soldier!-It’s a really great decision, but do you do it yourself?”
(Anchol brothers, op.cit.)