K-Pop group BTS allowed to defer military service

SEOUL: South Korea’s parliament has passed a bill allowing Grammy-nominated K-pop artists such as BTS to postpone mandatory military service until the age of 30.

All able-bodied South Korean men aged between 18 and 28 must serve in the military for about two years. The amendment to the Military Service Act was designed to provide exceptions for K-pop megastars who are a cultural status and boost the economy.

South Korea allows eligible students to defer enlistment up to age 28 and has granted exemptions for high-profile classical musicians as well as sportsmen and athletes who have won medals at the Olympics or other significant games. Tottenham Hotspur football player Son Heung-min is among those who have already been given an exemption.

No K-pop stars had received exemptions but the new bill will ensure entertainers recommended by the culture minister can defer their service to the age of 30.

The oldest member of BTS, 27-year-old Jin, is nearing the deadline for enlistment at a time when the seven-member boy band is rewriting K-pop history.

Since launching in 2013, BTS has driven the global K-pop craze with catchy, upbeat music alongside lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering young people.

It recently notched a first-ever No 1 hit single on the US Billboard charts with the song Dynamite and bagged an unprecedented Grammy nomination as a K-pop band.

Its new song Life Goes On also became the first ever Korean song to land at No 1 on the Billboard’s main singles chart. Jin and other band members have previously said they would fulfill their duties as required.

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