South Korea’s parliament has passed a bill that will allow globally recognized K-pop stars such as BTS to postpone mandatory military service until they turn 30.
All able-bodied South Korean men aged between 18 and 28 must serve in the military for about 20 months.
The revision to the country’s Military Service Act came on Tuesday, just three days before the oldest member of K-pop boy band Kim Seok-jin, known by his stage name Jin, turns 28.
Under the revised law, K-pop entertainers who have received government medals for helping to amplify South Korea’s cultural influence around the world can apply to defer their mandatory service, the New York Times reported.
All seven members of BTS are eligible as they were awarded the medal in 2018.
South Korea allows eligible students to defer enlistment until 28 and has granted exemptions for high-profile classical musicians and athletes who have won medals at the Olympics or other significant games.
Previously, other major K-pop groups, such as Big Bang, go on hiatus or changed lineups as members undertook military service.
The latest law change was proposed in September, after BTS became the first South Korean group to top the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “Dynamite”, with lawmakers saying that the careers of pop musicians and artists like BTS can blossom in their 20s, and they “cannot let military duty block their way at the height of their careers,” the Guardian reported.
BTS has just been nominated for their first Grammy Award, setting history as the first K-pop group to be nominated at the awards.