Fans have long been worried that the boys ’band, arguably the largest in the world, could see their success derailed by South Korea’s compulsory military service. Almost every able-bodied man in the country must serve in the army for 18 months until he is 28 years old.
But on Tuesday, parliament passed a bill that allowed pop stars, such as BTS, to postpone their service.
Previously, the law allowed special exceptions for the best artists, athletes and musicians – such as those who won classical music competitions – but K-pop top stars did not. According to a parliamentary statement, the revised law now allows exceptions for those who “excel in folk culture and art.”
The revised law added that the specific criteria for exemption are decided by a presidential order.
BTS’s oldest member, Jin, turns 28 on Friday. If the bill had not been passed, it would have had to enlist by the end of the year. Now the law takes him two more years.
BTS publisher Big Hit Entertainment said in earlier statements that military service was a “duty” the band would perform.