Under a recent amendment to South Korea’s Military Service Act, the seven members of BTS can defer their military service. A South Korean senior military official thinks giving the group the option to postpone their enlistment is in the country’s national interest.
The amendment went into effect on June 23, 2021, and it allows South Korean men who have been recognized for their artistic or athletic achievements to defer their mandatory military service until the age of 30.
To defer their military service under the new amendment, K-Pop idols must receive cultural merits from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Usually, only musicians with over 15 years in the industry can receive cultural merits. However, BTS was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in 2018 just 5 years after their debut to acknowledge their efforts at spreading Korean culture and language throughout the world.
An article by UPI stated that Jung Seok Hwan, the head of the Military Manpower Administration, shared the military’s official position with a South Korean newspaper.
He said the decision to give recipients of the Order of Cultural Merit the opportunity to defer their military service was made to “minimize the controversy over preferential treatment.”
Jung Seok Hwan further stated that BTS deferring their military service would be in the country’s interest because they “increase the value of the national brand.”
Meanwhile, BTS members have been extremely open and honest about their military duties. Jin said, “[Military service] is an important duty for our country. So I feel that I will try to work as hard as I can and do the most I can until I am called.”