South Korea law change allows BTS to defer military service for two more years

They'll be able to postpone their duty until they turn 30.

A significant change in South Korean law has allowed BTS to defer military service until they are 30, extending the K-Pop group’s global dominance for at least two more years.

South Korean men are required to perform compulsory military service once they turn 28, if they have not undertaken the duty already. Two BTS members, Jin and Suga, will reach the milestone soon, with Jin turning 28 on Friday, which effectively threatened their time with the group.

Under the revised Military Service Act, “a pop culture artist who was recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism to have greatly enhanced the image of Korea both within the nation and throughout the world” is allowed to postpone service until the age of 30.

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The law change was first proposed in September, with Democratic party member Jeon Yong-gi reasoning: “For the sake of the fairness, we are not talking about exempting them from their duty, but pop musicians and artists like BTS – their careers can blossom in their 20s. We cannot let military duty block their way at the height of their careers.”

bts 2020 getty images cindy ord
BTS. Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Before the revision was announced on Tuesday, military service exemptions or deferrals had only been issued to classical musicians and high-profile athletes such as Tottenham ace Heung-Min Son.

The law change comes as BTS continue to break new ground as one of the most popular boy bands in the world.

Last week, they became the first K-pop act to receive a Grammy nomination. The boyband’s recent single ‘Dynamite’ is up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2021 awards, competing with the likes of Justin Bieber.

“Thank you to everyone who listened to our music and empathised with it in difficult times,” the band wrote in a translated tweet.

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“Above all, it is you ARMY that made the miracle of (us becoming) a Grammy-nominated artist. Thank you and love you always.”

Reviewing the Grammy-nominated ‘Dynamite’, which broke the record for most YouTube views in 24 hours upon its release in August, NME wrote: “Life might not be as “sweet as honey” as BTS sing right now but, on this song, they take you to a place where that feeling is viscerally, dazzlingly real. Given everything that’s been thrown at us over the last six months, why would you turn your nose up at that?”

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