The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom. There is no state religion, and the government does not subsidize or favor any religion. The constitution states that church and state shall be separate.
The law requires military service for virtually all male citizens between the ages of 20 and 30. Military service lasts between 21 and 24 months, depending on the branch of service. The law does not allow for conscientious objectors, who may receive a maximum three-year prison sentence for refraining from service. Conscientious objectors sentenced to more than one year and six months in prison are exempt from further military service and reserve duty obligations, and are not subject to further fines or other punishment.
Those who complete their military service obligation and subsequently become conscientious objectors are subject to fines for not participating in mandatory reserve duty exercises. Reserve duty obligation lasts for eight years, and there are several reserve duty exercises per year. The fines vary depending on jurisdiction, but typically average 200,000 Korean won (KRW) ($166) for the first conviction. Fines increase by 100,000-300,000 won ($83-249) for each subsequent conviction. The law puts a ceiling on the fine at two million KRW ($1,660) per conviction. Courts have the option, in lieu of levying fines, to sentence individuals deemed to be habitual offenders to prison terms or suspended prison terms.
The Traditional Temples Preservation Law provides some government subsidies to historic cultural properties, including Buddhist temples, for their preservation and upkeep.
The government does not require religious groups or foreign religious workers to register or obtain licenses.
The government does not permit religious instruction in public schools. Private schools are free to conduct religious activities.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Buddha’s Birthday and Christmas.