For months both fans and the general public have been discussing if BTS should be granted military exemption, given their contribution to the country. As a world famous boy group, BTS has brought economic benefit and recognition to South Korea.
However, the Military Manpower Administration (MMA) has announced on 9 October 2020 that they are unwilling to support exemption of mandatory military service for the group, citing principles of justice and equality. The administration has not spoken up on the matter prior to this.
According to past examples and the general law, special cases are granted military exemption. This includes high-achieving athletes as well as renowned classical musicians. An example would be Son Heung Min (also known as Sonny) who clinched the gold for South Korea in 2018. He was granted exemption then.
However, despite the debate and some calls by ruling party lawmakers, the MMA has put its foot down. K-Pop idols will not be granted any exemption. According to the MMA, K-Pop singers are not eligible as it is not in line with the government’s basic stance regarding mandatory military service.
Instead, a deferral of enlistment is a viable option. Currently, a revision bill sits waiting for judgement, to allow K-Pop idols to defer their duty until a maximum of 30 years of age. As according to existing laws, citizens of South Korea have to write in with their circumstances to request for a deferment, with the possibility of rejection.
ARMYs may be feeling a little sad about the news, but rest assured! The boys still have some ways to go before enlistment.