South Korea’s parliament has passed a bill allowing the biggest K-pop stars, such as BTS, to delay their compulsory military service until the age of 30.
All able-bodied Korean men aged between 18 and 28 are required to serve in the country’s military for about 20 months.
But under the revised law, certain pop stars can defer their service if recommended by the culture minister.
The move will come as an early birthday present to BTS’s oldest member, Jin, who is just days away from turning 28.
South Korea’s parliament passes bill allowing K-pop stars, like BTS, to delay compulsory military service until age of 30https://t.co/3ZYx1q3YRW
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) December 1, 2020
Prior to the revision on Tuesday, military service exemptions or deferrals had been given to high-profile athletes and classical musicians.
Under 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” is allowed to postpone service until the age of 30.
BTS-mania has swept the globe in recent years, with the boyband’s popularity skyrocketing overseas.
Last week they became the first K-pop group to receive a Grammy Award nomination. Their latest hit song Dynamite was nominated for the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category, alongside stars like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.
They also recently made history as the first all-Korean pop act to top the Billboard 100 singles chart, and the first group to have a non-English language song enter the chart at number one.
Fans – known as the BTS Army – celebrated the legal change on social media.
“Congratulations Jin,” one wrote on Twitter. “I can’t tell you my happiness.”
“What a time to be alive,” another wrote.