The Military Manpower Administration of South Korea has officially issued a statement about military service of internationally acclaimed Kpop artistes. It has specified that BTS is not exempt from military service. The statement was issued in the wake of the news about amending compulsory military enlistment rules.

The news of ruling Democratic Party pushing to revise the Military Service Act in early September had led to speculations that top Kpop stars might be exempted from enlistment. The issue was being discussed in the national level and netizens had demanded that BTS and artistes who help South Korea economically and culturally should be exempted from military service.

K-Pop BTS
BTS grossed a whopping $170 million last year, making it the fifth among the world’s top concert draws, just behind Elton John. YouTube Grab

No More Speculations

However, even when the idea of amendment was announced, it was criticized nationally. That had made the government release a clarification that they did not suggest exemption from the compulsory military service. The issue came to the fore again after BTS' recent feat of winning MTV VMA awards, topping the Billboard chart.

To avoid any further speculation, the Military Manpower Administration officially announced that it will not support BTS' exemption from their mandatory military service duties. Also one more reason why the rumors of exemption from military service started floating around was the silence of the Administration initially.

Military service of 21 months is compulsory for all men between 18 and 28 years of age in South Korea. But considering certain circumstances, people belonging to three sections are allowed to postpone their enlistment. Accordingly, those pursuing their post-secondary education [after 12th grade], those still pursuing a course at any training institution and national and international level athletes representing the country are allowed to defer their military service.

Who Were Exempted From Military Service?

Military enlistment can be postponed till 30 years. Reports claim that in the past, the Authority had granted military exemption to Olympic athletes and classical musicians as an exception. So far athletes who have been granted exemptions from military service are -- bronze winning football team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, 2008 Olympic gold medalist badminton player Lee Yong Dae, swimmer Park Tae Hwan, 2014 Asian Games gold medalist tennis player Hyeon Chung, 2018 Asian Games gold medalist footballer Son Heung Min, and 2018 Asian Games gold medalist baseball player Lee Jung Hoo.

Those not in good health are asked to perform non-active duties in the military. Army and Marines serve for 21 months, the Navy enlistment is for 23 months, and the Air Force service is for 24 months. Even those in social work or international cooperation [non-active duties] need to complete 24 months of military service.

Thus, the speculation over chances of BTS members being exempted from military service has come to an end with the statement of Military Manpower Administration. However, BTS members who are not 30 can opt for deferral as they are pursuing MBA course from Hanyang University.