All BTS members apply to defer their military service

Published November 26, 2021, 11:33 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

All seven members of Grammy nominees and K-pop superstars BTS have applied to postpone their military service until age 30.

Their basis is the so-called “BTS Military Service Act,” which took effect in South Korea on June 23 this year, six months after it was promulgated by the government on Dec. 22, 2020.

BTS at the 2021 American Music Awards (Twitter)

The law allows outstanding pop culture artists like BTS to postpone the start of their military service until they reach 30 years old. As of now, BTS are the only ones qualified to apply for postponement of military service based on the requirements of the law.

Under the new law, artists are qualified for postponement if they are recipients of cultural medals and if they are recommended by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST).

In October 2018, BTS received the Korean government’s Hwagwan (Flower Crown) Order of Cultural Merit for their contribution to spreading Hallyu, or Korean Wave, around the world.

Korean media reported on Nov. 26 that BTS’ Jin, RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook have all applied to postpone their military service until age 30.

Under the general law, Korean men must enlist in the military by age 29. Jin, born in December 1992, is the oldest member of BTS and should enlist by next month. But with the new law, Jin will be able to be active with BTS until his birthday in 2022.

Last June, Minister Hwang Hee of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) said he will recommend BTS if they apply to postpone their military service until age 30.

The revised law amended Article 60 of Korea’s Military Service Act and added 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 after BTS topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with “Dynamite.”

In an investment prospectus, 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.

BTS previously stated that they will fulfill their military service when the time came.

Exemption from military service

Meanwhile, Korea’s Ministry of Defense and lawmakers have tackled a bill to grant military service exemption to BTS and other artists who have contributed to national interest.

Under the bill, the qualified artists will be allowed to work in their fields of specialty for 34 months under an alternative program that would exempt them from active duty service, Yonhap News reported.

However, Boo Seung-chan, spokesperson of the defense ministry, said, “Regarding the revision bill, the defense ministry cannot help but consider situational variables. The one that we face at this very moment is the situation caused by the shrinking population.”

“Secondly, there is also a need for social consensus. In other words, this is about a fair military service,” he added.

BTS got nominated for a Grammy Award for the second straight year and won Artist of the Year, the highest honor, at the 2021 American Music Awards.