World News

BTS Law: South Korean National Assembly Divided Over Exempting K-Pop Group From Military Service

The South Korean National Assembly on Thursday reached a stalemate in their deliberations regarding exempting the Korean idol group, BTS from the mandatory military service in the country.


A subcommittee of the South Korean National Assembly’s defence committee discussed a bill to exempt Korean pop artists, who have helped draw global attention to the country, from mandatory conscription. According to Yonhap News Agency, the bill would have allowed K-pop artists to be part of an alternative program for 34 months while working in their field without undergoing the regular 18 to 22 months of mandatory military service.

However, Boo Seung-chan, the spokesperson for Korea’s defence ministry, said that the military is still considering the “situational variables” over the bill. Speaking at a press briefing, Boo was reported by Yonhap News Agency as saying, “Regarding the revision bill, the defence ministry cannot help but consider situational variables. The one that we face at this very moment is the situation caused by the shrinking population.”

Stressing on the need for prudence, Boo also informed that a social consensus is needed to take further decisions. “This is about a fair military service,” he said.

Since South Korea is still technically at war with North Korea, the country considers military drafting as crucial for national defence. Under the Military Service Act 1949, it is mandatory for all South Korean men between the ages of 18 and 28 to serve in the country’s military for 18 to 20 months.


In December 2020, the South Korean parliament passed a revision to the military service law which allows K-pop artists, including BTS, to postpone their military services until the age of 30. Currently, Kim Seok-jin (Jin), the oldest member of BTS, will turn 29 in a week. Min Yoon-gi (Suga) is 28, Jung Ho-seok (J-Hope) is 27, Kim Nam-joon (RM) is 27, Park Ji-min (Jimin) is 26, Kim Tae-hyung (V) is 25, and (Jeon Jung-kook) Jungkook is 24.

Recently, BTS won the Artist of the Year award at the American Music Awards, that was held on Sunday, and became the first Asian group to achieve the feat. The K-pop group dominated the award show with the most number of wins.