‘BTS Law’ on military service postponement takes effect today

Published June 23, 2021, 8:41 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

BTS (Big Hit Music) 

The new law that will allow K-pop superstars BTS and other pop culture artists to postpone their military service until age 30 took effect today, June 23.

On Dec. 22, 2020, the Korean government promulgated the so-called “BTS Military Service Act” to give outstanding pop culture artists the chance to delay their military enlistment if they are recipients of cultural medals and government awards, and if they are recommended by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST).

The revised law was promulgated to take effect after six months and amended Article 60 of Korea’s Military Service Act to add popular culture artists to the list of people that can be granted postponement of military service. 

Before the revision, this was granted 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.” 

In general, all able-bodied Korean men are required to enlist by 28 years old. The BTS law was filed in September 2020 after BTS topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with “Dynamite.” 

BTS members are qualified to postpone their military service until age 30 as they are recipients of cultural medals. 

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

To apply for military service postponement, a singer who receives an Order of Cultural Merit must submit an application to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which in turn decides whether to recommend him for the postponement to the regional Military Manpower Administration (MMA), which supervises Korea’s conscription. The head of the regional MMA will decide on granting the postponement.  

In an investment prospectus filed by HYBE Corp. (formerly Big Hit Entertainment) last June 1, it mentioned the new military service law. 

It said BTS members, born in 1992 to 1997, are eligible for active duty enlistment and among them, Jin, born in 1992, is expected to postpone his enlistment until the end of 2022 based on the new Military Service Act. 

During the press conference for the album “BE” on Nov. 20 last year, Jin reiterated that BTS will fulfill the military service when the time comes. “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],” he said, the Korea JoongAng Daily reported.  On June 22, BTS topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the fourth straight week with their new single “Butter.”

 
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