Will K-pop superstars BTS get special treatment in mandatory military service?

BTS members will have to serve mandatory military service

Members of K-pop band BTS will have to go through mandatory military service of at least 21 months and they won't be given any special treatment due to their worldwide fame and riches.

South Korean media Yonhap News reported that a government official confirmed this to the reporters on November 19. "In the case of BTS, I personally wish I could allow exemptions for them under certain standards, but the Military Manpower Administration and the Ministry of National Defense (in charge of conscription) are inclined to downsize the overall scope (of exemption)," culture minister Park Yang-woo said in a statement.

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Among RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jin and Jungkook, Jin the oldest member of the band, is most likely to be the first of the group to enlist in the military service, compulsory for all able-bodied males between the age groups of 18 and 35. Jin will celebrate his 27th birthday in December and will have to enlist his name once he turns 28.

Popularity doesn't matter

The BTS fans had requested to waive off the band's name from the service, which does happen for classical musicians and award-winning athletes who have topped global competitions. But unfortunately, this does not apply to pop stars, even if they are popular worldwide.

The seven-member boy band is the first group to spend five weeks at No 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart. BTS is also the third group in 50 years to have three No 1 albums on the Billboard 200 charts within 12 months. The minister said that it is difficult to fix the criteria of selection for the popular culture and arts field thus making it difficult to start a waiver system. In 2018, members of the South Korean men's football team were exempted from the mandatory service after they won gold at the Asian Games.

BTS confirms enlistment

However, BTS members have already confirmed their participation for military services. In September 2018, The Korea Herald had quoted Do Jong-hwan, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, as saying: "All of the BTS members say they will definitely enlist for military service."

Meanwhile, members of some of the other K-pop bands have also gone through the service. G-Dragon of Big Bang group finished his service in October, while Taeyang and Daesung completed it in November.

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