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South Korea law allows BTS to postpone military service

Under typical circumstances, all South Korean men are required to enlist in the military between the ages of 18 and 28

Rachel Brodsky
Los Angeles
Tuesday 01 December 2020 20:56 GMT
BTS perform at the VMAs
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South Korea has passed a bill to amend the Military Service Act, which will allow K-pop stars like BTS to postpone military service until the age of 30.

Prior to its revision, the Military Service Act only offered deferral exceptions to athletes, award-winning classical and folk musicians, and those who have enrolled in PhD programmes abroad.

The amendment to the act was originally proposed in September after BTS became the first-ever South Korean group to top the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with the single “Dynamite".

"It’s a sacred duty to defend our country, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to carry a weapon,” Noh Woong-rae, a senior Democratic Party lawmaker, ​said in an October statement in support of postponing BTS’ eventual service.

Read More: BTS band members, fans welcome its first Grammy nomination

Under typical circumstances, all men in South Korean are required to enlist in the military between the ages of 18 and 28. Service can last between 18 and 21 months. Women are allowed to enlist, but it is not mandatory.

According to The New York Times, more than 200,000 men interrupt their studies or careers every year to join the military.

As K-pop has become more and more popular on a global scale over the last decade, lawmakers have had to decide whether or not a new class of deferrals should be made.

The law, pre-amendment, would have directly affected BTS member Jin, who turns 28 this month. 

During a press conference around their new album last month, Jin said that “military service is a matter of course, and as our [BTS] members had discussed many times, we all plan to enroll in the military some day.”

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