Korea’s National Assembly passes bill allowing BTS to defer military service until age 30

Published December 1, 2020, 4:09 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

BTS (Twitter)

South Korea’s National Assembly has passed a bill that will allow K-pop superstars and Grammy nominee BTS to postpone their military service until age 30.

The bill was passed on Dec. 1 during the 13th plenary session of the National Assembly with 253 lawmakers voting in favor, two opposing and 13 abstaining out of the 268 present.

Under the bill, outstanding pop culture artists like BTS can delay their military service until age 30 upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST). It was proposed in September solely because of BTS when the group topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time with their hit single “Dynamite.”

It aims to revise Article 60 of the Military Service Act, which currently allows the postponement of military service to “a student who attends a high school or higher;” “a person who is taking a prescribed course at a training institute;” and “an outstanding athlete to enhance the national prestige.”

After the bill’s passage, a presidential or enforcement decree is needed to be issued and the bill is expected to take effect six months after deliberation by the State Council chaired by President Moon Jae-in.

According to a report by the National Assembly’s Defense Committee, from 2014 to 2020, a total of 32 outstanding athletes have postponed their military service as recommended by the Korea Sports Association.

Currently, all able-bodied Korean male are required to enlist by age 18 and 28 at the latest.

In October 2018, the Korean government bestowed on all BTS members the Hwagwan (Flower Crown) Order of Cultural Merit in recognition for their contribution to spreading hallyu, or Korean Wave, around the world.

Their achievements include topping the Billboard 200, Hot 100 and winning domestic and international awards. BTS recently became the first K-pop artist to be nominated at the Grammy Awards.

Among BTS members, Jin, 28, the oldest, is the first to enlist in the military. Last Nov. 20 during the press conference for BTS’ album “BE (Deluxe Edition),” Jin said, “As a Korean youth, military service is a natural duty that, as we have always stated, we’re ready to oblige whenever the country calls upon us. We actually talk about this a lot, but all of us are planning to serve in the military [when the time comes],” according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.

Big Hit Entertainment previously stated that Jin will be able to postpone his enlistment until 2021 as he is currently in graduate school at Hanyang Cyber University. With the bill, he can work until 2022.

 
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