South Korea’s parliament has passed a bill allowing chart-topping and Grammy-nominated K-pop artistes such as BTS to postpone their mandatory military service until the age of 30, CNN reports.
All able-bodied South Korean men between that age of 18 and 28 must serve in the military for about two years as part of the country’s efforts to guard against North Korea.
The amendment to the Military Service Act passed on Tuesday was designed to provide exceptions for K-pop megastars who improve the country’s 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.
Until now, 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 close to 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 music alongside lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering young people.
It recently launched a first-ever 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 top the Billboard’s main singles chart.