K-pop boyband BTS will complete their military service in South Korea, despite discussions of possibly giving them an exemption.
The all-star group, which consists of seven bandmates – Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook – have been on hiatus since June to explore their solo careers. Yet reports now reveal they have agreed to complete their national obligation.
The band’s oldest member, Jin, will be the first to complete service, and “all other members will also serve mandatory military duty according to their plans,” HYBE, the band’s management group, revealed.
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In South Korea, all able-bodied men aged between 18 to 28 must complete military service, though there is an exemption for globally recognised stars, which allows them to put off their service until they are 30.
This favour was put forward legally in 2019 and is rumoured to have been done with BTS in mind.
Over the past year, the country has been deep in discussion about the band’s obligation to complete their military service, with officials even proposing to hold a public survey to determine whether the group would be granted an exemption.
Officials also reportedly considered whether K-pop stars could have their service shortened from two years to three weeks, according to AP.
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This idea was put forward for the group given other athletes and high-profile professionals have been allowed similar exemptions over the years, with Olympics and Asian Games medal winners, classical musicians and some competitive dancers being favoured.
Those exempt are released from the military after three weeks of basic training, but must perform 544 hours of volunteer work and serve in their professional fields for 54 months.
In terms of BTS, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said in August that if BTS members join the military, they would likely be allowed to continue practising their music and join the group for tours overseas.
Per AP, a private survey completed earlier this year showed that about 60 per cent of respondents supported military exemption for BTS members.
The much-loved pop group formed in 2013 and has thousands of global supporters who refer to themselves as the “Army.”
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