07:38 GMT22 January 2021
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    The South Korean Defense Commission passed a revision to the law on military conscription, which would allow exceptional K-pop stars to postpone their military service until age 30.

    A revision to the military service law called the “BTS Military Service Act” passed the National Assembly's standing committee on the 20th of November. According to the statement of the committee, this act would allow artists such as BTS to have the option of postponing their mandatory service for their special services of presenting South Korea nationally and globally and being granted with a National Certificate of Merit.

    According to the current Military Service Law, every Korean man must enlist between the ages of 18 and 28, and their duty lasts from a year and a half to two years. Usually after turning 18 men go through a health examination and enlist in the army. Service can be deferred until the age of 28 for academic reasons, like studying abroad, or being enrolled in Ph.D. programs abroad.

    The BTS band already has to its credit the Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit, which was two years ago for increasing the popularity of K-Culture and the Korean Language around the world, and their contribution to the image and recognition of Korea is without question.

    ​Military exemptions have traditionally been given only to Olympic athletes and classical or traditional musicians approved by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Typically those exempted have won awards in international and national competitions and improved Korea's image globally and domestically. For example, football player Son Heung-min was exempted from mandatory service after Korea's national football team won gold at the Asian Games in 2018, while pianist Cho Seong-jin was exempted after he won the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2009 and became the first Korean musician to win the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015.

    ​Many fans of BTS are happy with the government's consideration of delaying military service, but some are demanding a total exemption for the band, as they believe their contribution is unique.

    Meanwhile, BTS members themselves stated recently during the global press conference dedicated to the release of their special album “BE” that they intend to fulfill their military service just like any other Korean citizen.

    BTS is called a “K-pop phenomenon” for being incredibly famous and for their impact globally, winning awards and topping all charts both domestically and worldwide.

    k-pop, military service, South Korean Defense Ministry
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