Eyes have been on BTS’ military enlistment for a while now. With the group’s oldest member Jin turning 30 this year (international age), fans are keeping a close eye to see if South Korea make a historic change in policies and allow him along with his fellow members RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook exemption from the compulsory military training. The recent statements of South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup seems to hint that the possibility of exemption is less but they can accommodate the group’s concert schedule.
For the unversed, according to South Korea’s policies, almost all abled men have to undergo compulsory military training. They are asked to enlist before the age of 28. A revision in policies took place in 2019, allowing the two-time Grammy-nominated K-pop stars to delay their service until the age of 30.
On Monday, during a parliamentary session, Lee Jong-sup said that he is considering a number of alternative military service options for BTS. This includes allowing them time to prepare and perform international concerts during their service period.
As reported by The Korea Herald, Lee Jong-sup said, “(The BTS members) should come to the military, and I believe there will be a way for us to give them the opportunity to practice as well as allow them to leave the country and perform anytime if they have overseas concerts scheduled.” He added, “Many people do think highly of military service itself, and I think (BTS members enlisting) can actually help them with their popularity.”
Military Manpower Administration Commissioner Lee Ki-sik also revealed that the administration is currently reviewing “various aspects” regarding military service exemption. “We are reviewing (the matter) within the overall framework of alternative service,” he said.
According to K-pop Herald, Lee Jong-sup also addressed the question about granting exemptions to award-winning pop culture artists, including BTS, he said, “Granting exemptions to the pop artists may shake the overall grounds of the alternative service system so we’re approaching it carefully.”
BTS is currently taking a break from group activities and is focusing on individual projects.