Will BTS get an exemption from mandatory military service? Decision to be made soon by government authorities

A still of the K-pop boy group (Image via @bts_bighit/Twitter)
A still of the K-pop boy group (Image via @bts_bighit/Twitter)

Global K-pop phenomenon BTS has proven its global brand power and influence through its decade-long productions and music releases. South Korea's government recently added a special policy pertaining to military enlistments. According to the Constitution of South Korea, all physically fit men in the country are required to enlist in the military for approximately two years.

It further states that exemptions can be given to those who have shown and proven exceptional skills that have benefited and boosted the economy of the country. The list includes award-winning international athletes and musicians.

Since BTS has shown exemplary talent over the years, the group has been exempted from the country’s compulsory military service so far.

Rep. Sung II-jong speaks about BTS military exemption

According to various K-media outlets, Rep. Sung Il-jong, secretary of the People's Power of the National Assembly's National Defense Committee, recently stated that the group’s exemption from military service is in talks, and the final decision regarding the issue will be announced by the end of April.

In a recent radio interview with MBC, Rep. Sung II-jong spoke about the K-pop boy group’s special military exemption. As part of the parliamentary committee for national defense, he hinted at a bill that he proposed to qualify K-pop artists for a military exemption or alternative services that might pass at the National Assembly by the end of April 2022.

In the interview, Rep. Sung said,

"Regarding whether or not there is a special case for BTS' military service, the Democratic Party of Korea is moving more proactively. The government has a will to deal with it as soon as possible".

He explained that there is a shortcoming to the policy and that the Grammy Awards were not included among the 42 contests, which are presently noted as achievements that allow individuals to receive special military exemptions.

Regarding the mixed reactions and opinions of the public, Rep. Sung said,

"Currently, a bill to amend the Military Service Act is pending in the National Assembly to allow popular artists who have achieved great achievements to be transferred to art and sports personnel".

While the final decision regarding this special military policy is still under discussion, the outlook appears to be positive for the K-pop group as many lawmakers and future ruling parties are largely in support of the exemption.

Meanwhile, there has been a lot of confusion on social media regarding the group’s military enlistment. Some fans are stating that they will patiently wait for the group to return, considering that the bill gets passed, while others are virtually protesting against it.

Earlier, HYBE CCO Lee Jin-hyung released a statement announcing that the group had left the military matter entirely to the agency. The members have already conveyed their thoughts multiple times and stated that they would accept the call of duty when the nation calls on them.

Quick Links

Edited by Danyal Arabi