Culture minister to recommend BTS if they apply to postpone military service

Published June 24, 2021, 2:26 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Minister Hwang Hee of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (left) and BTS (MCST / Big Hit Music) 

K-pop superstars BTS will be recommended if they file an application to postpone their military service until age 30.

The so-called “BTS Military Service Act” took effect in South Korea on June 23, six months after it was promulgated by the government last Dec. 22, which allows outstanding pop culture artists like BTS to postpone the start of their military service until they reach 30 years old.

The law specifies that artists are qualified for the privilege if they are recipients of cultural medals and if they are recommended by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST).

Minister Hwang Hee of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) said he will recommend BTS.

“BTS have not submitted an application for recommendation yet but if they do, we will definitely recommend the postponement (of their military service),” Minister Hwang Korean news channel YTN on June 23.

To date, BTS are the only ones qualified to apply for military service postponement as they received the Korean government’s Hwagwan (Flower Crown) Order of Cultural Merit in October 2018 for their contribution to spreading Hallyu, or Korean Wave, around the world.

YTN reported that however, other sectors are asking to expand the scope of the law as only BTS are qualified under it.

“We will consider the fairness, equity and opinions of the Ministry of National Defense,” said Minister Hwang.

The revised law 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, the privilege was only 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.”

The bill for the BTS Law was first filed in September last year when BTS topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time with “Dynamite.”

In an investment prospectus it filed, HYBE Corp. (formerly Big Hit Entertainment) 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.

“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],” said Jin on Nov. 20 last year during the press conference in Korea for BTS’ album “BE,” Korea JoongAng Daily reported.

 
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