Will BTS' Jin enlist in military? How new bill proposed by Korean Defense Committee will keep band intact
According to multiple reports in the South Korean media, in a meeting held on November 20, 2020, the Korean National Assembly's defense committee passed a bill that can potentially allow top male idols, like members of BTS, to postpone their military enlistment. South Korea, since 1957, requires its male citizens between the ages of 18 and 28 to perform compulsory military service for two years.
According to the report by Koreaboo, BTS' track 'Dynamite', the first song from South Korea to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, has had major implications on the future of Korean military service. 'Dynamite' remained at #1 on the chart for two weeks. Then, after BTS’s Billboard Music Awards win (Top Social Artist), a representative of the Democratic Party, Jeon Yong Gi, drafted a revision to the Military Service Act proposing that exceptional artists in pop culture, such as BTS, should be granted the right to defer their military duties until the age of 30. According to the proposed revision, the exception can be made on the grounds that such artists have helped elevate South Korea’s reputation around the world. As of right now, the only exception provided is a physical disability.
The question of BTS’s Jin joining the military is expected as he will be 28 next month. Until now, military service exceptions have only been granted to athletes and classical musicians. In September 2020, Seo Wook, Minister of National Defense, responded favorably to the revision and, in October, the Military Manpower Administration also expressed their approval of the proposal.
Concerns about the revision were also shared as some said that the amendment could be considered unfair. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, as per the report, will have the final say on the matter about who is deemed exceptional. But, despite objections, the National Assembly’s defense committee has given preliminary approval to the bill. The report further states that the amendment is not set in stone as it needs to pass the Korean parliament’s plenary session to become law. The report quoted a South Korean lawmaker saying, "The BTS members will be able to defer their enlistments until the age of 30 if this bill is approved through a plenary session and a related enforcement decree is also revised."
Jin, talking about his enlistment, had earlier said, "As I’ve always said, as soon as there’s a call from the military, I will enlist. The members have all talked about this, and we all intend to do the same."