South Korean lawmakers on Tuesday passed amendments to existing laws that would allow some K-pop stars to retire from military service for less than 30 years. Not to be outdone by BTS fans, it is currently one of the largest musical performances in the world, but its band members were soon forced to enroll.
When the bill amending the Military Service Act was introduced in September, BTS became the first Korean team to hit the American Billboard Hot 100 Single Chart, which contains the single “Dynamite”. The band also won its first Grammy nomination last week.
Under previous repeals of the law, all able-bodied male men in Korea are required to sign up before their 28th birthday. The law specifies exceptions and terms of service for top classical musicians and folk music activities and Olympic medal winners. However, it did not give any concessions to pop celebrities.
In a prospectus released ahead of the October IPO, BTS’s management firm Big Hit Entertainment was forced to warn potential investors that its biggest profitable client had suffered.
“Pop artists tend to achieve their highest in twenty years, but many of them had to earn a bachelor’s degree to delay their service,” said Jean Yong-ji, co-sponsor of Bill.
The new criteria now raises the sign-up age to 30 years for applicants and later for those proposed by the Ministry of Culture. Gene, a member of the BTS band, will turn 28 on Friday this week.
The passage of the bill attracted relatively local media attention in Korea. Some publications have chosen to focus on the growing interest in receiving services as suitable for men on duty with heavy tattoos instead. Body weight rules should also be relaxed, making more men fit for responsibility.
In a typical year, about 200,000 men are recruited. But South Korea’s population is growing and military services may face a shortage of potential physical men who face a potentially unreliable and nuclear-equipped North Korean threat.