South Korea Changes Law to Let BTS Postpone Mandatory Military Service

South Korea’s National Assembly passed a bill to amend the Military Service Act on Tuesday, stating that a pop artist can postpone military service upon the culture minister’s recognition that he has dedicated to elevating the national reputation.

According to the revised Military Service Act, “a pop culture artist who was recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism to have greatly enhanced the image of Korea both within the nation and throughout the world” would be allowed to postpone their military service until age of 30 if they do not have an extraordinary reason. Before revision, the Military Service Act only gave deferral exceptions to athletes, classical musicians, and those who enrolled in Ph.D. programs abroad.

The amendment to the act was proposed in September, shortly after the seven member boy band BTS hit the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with its song “Dynamite.”

“A number of Korean men in their 20’s, including BTS, often had trouble proving their talents due to concerns about the military service. This amendment has solved that concern by a little,” Jeon Yong-gi of the Democratic Party, one of the lawmakers who drafted the bill, told ABC News.

Article 39 of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea mandates all South Korean citizens to enlist in the military between the ages of 18 and 28. One’s original career is put on hold until the military service is completed.

Military service lasts between 18 to 21 months unless the individual is eligible for an exemption.

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