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September 21, 2017

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Reservist muster calls still based on computerized drawings: Defense Ministry

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- It is normal that the same group of reservists is mustered during biannual muster-calls, a Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said yesterday.

Major General Lee Shih-kuo (李世國), chief of staff for the MND's Reserve Command, said at a news briefing that reservists are mustered every two years for training at a military base near their residences, in a move to maintain their basic combat skills.

The current regulations stipulate that a reservist can expect a maximum of four muster calls within eight years after his discharge.

The training includes specialty retraining, firearms training, combat training, combined training, and disaster prevention and relief, which are all necessary for combat operations and disaster relief, he added.

There have been numerous complaints raised by reservists who said they have seen the same group of people during every muster call, hinting that the MND did not conduct a lottery draw to pick reservists, as is claimed to be the government's standard operating procedure.

In response to the accusation, Lee yesterday stressed that the reservists are indeed chosen following computerized drawings.

However, he noted that it is "normal" that same batch of people are being called up because the MND is more inclined to pick those who have previous experience with muster calls.

  Also, the MND would team up a group of reservists and enlist them as a unit. So it is not a surprise that reservists would often meet people they knew from previous call-ups because they all belong to the same unit, he added.

  The MND would only replace those who cannot attend the call and those who have been discharged from military service for more than eight years with new reservists, he said.

  Also, those who reach the age of 36 will no longer be called up, he added.

  According to MND statistics, over 140,000 reservists receive training in 622 batches annually, effectively building the reserve forces' mobilization capabilities.

  Meanwhile, the ministry yesterday said female military personnel who are discharged from the military will also undergo muster calls in the future.

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