South Korean lawmakers are allowing BTS members to delay their required national military service due to the K-pop group's international popularity.
As part of the Military Service Act, all able-bodied South Korean men must serve at least 20 months in the national military before they turn 28. On Dec. 1, legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill — unofficially dubbed the "BTS bill" — which allows top K-pop artists to defer military service for two years. This is especially meaningful to BTS member, Kim Seok-jin, who turns 28 this week.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Moon Jae-in.
Under the law, deferment waivers would be granted to pop musicians who have won awards and bring cultural and economic prosperity to the country. One lawmaker noted that the band's first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 brought an estimated $1.5 billion into South Korea's economy. With BTS' success only rising, the Asian nation doesn't want to mess with the group's mojo and the financial boon it brings to the country right now.
There are exceptions to the mandatory military service rule. Professional athletes are except, as are award-winning musicians from non-pop genres.