Mega-pop stars BTS may already have an A.R.M.Y. of their own, but that doesn’t mean much to South Korea’s mandatory military service policy. Though don’t worry Twitter stans—the K-pop group might still be given the okay to continue practicing and performing globally while in South Korea’s military, according to Variety.
While speaking at a parliamentary session on Monday, the defense minister Lee Jong-sup said the government was working out alternative ways of service so the group members could continue performing.
“[The BTS members] should come to the military, and I believe there will be a way for us to give them the opportunity to practice as well as allow them to leave the country and perform anytime if they have overseas concerts scheduled,” said Lee.
Currently, South Korea’s Military Service Act requires all able-bodied Korean men to enlist for about two years of service before the age of 30. Prior to 2020, the conscription law required the enlistment to be performed before turning 28, but BTS’s popularity actually might have influenced a changing of the law.
When eldest member Kim Seok-jin or Jin turned 28, South Korea’s National Assembly hustled together and passed a revision of the law that allowed K-pop performers who received government medals for promoting the country’s influence to apply for deferment of their two year service, reported The New York Times in December 2020. This covered all BTS members, as they received the Order of Cultural Merit in 2018.
With Jin turning 30, there’s an expectation for the BTS member to enlist this year. There won’t be a full-on exemption for the pop star though, as those are usually given only to Olympic medalists in South Korea and more classically trained artists who win national awards.