Fans have long feared the boy band, arguably the world’s largest, could see their success derailed by South Korea’s compulsory military service. Almost all able-bodied men in the country must serve in the military for 18 months at the age of 28.
But on Tuesday, parliament passed a bill allowing pop stars – like BTS – to defer their service.
Previously, the law allowed special exemptions for top artists, athletes, and musicians – for example, those who won classical music competitions – but not big K-pop stars. The revised law now allows exemptions for those who “excel in popular culture and art,” according to a National Assembly opinion.
The revised law added that the specific criteria for the exemption would be decided by a presidential ordinance.
BTS’s oldest member, Jin, will be 28 on Friday. If the bill had not passed, he should have enlisted by the end of the year. Now the law will buy him another two years.
BTS’s label Big Hit Entertainment has previously said in statements that military service is a “duty” the group will fulfill.