SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Members of K-pop group BTS will perform their mandatory military duties under South Korean law, their management company announced Monday, ending a debate over their exemption in because of their artistic achievements.
Big Hit Music said the oldest member of the group, Jin, will revoke his request to delay his conscription until the end of the month and take the required conscription steps. The other six members also plan to serve in the military, according to the company’s notice to financial regulators, which it described as management-related information that could affect investment decisions.
Big Hit posted another one statement on Twitterclaiming that the company and the members of BTS are “looking forward to reuniting as a group again around 2025 following their commitment to service.”
No further information on the timing of their service was given. The group members performed together in Busan over the weekend to support the city’s EXPO bid, but only solo projects appear to be scheduled until 2025.
The announcement came after Lee Ki Sik, commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration, told lawmakers this month that it would be “desirable” for BTS members to fulfill their military duties to ensure fairness in the country’s military service.
Whether BTS members should serve in the military has been a hotly debated issue in South Korea as Jin faces enlistment early next year after turning 30 in December.
Under South Korean law, most able-bodied men are required to complete 18 to 21 months of military service, but special exemptions have been granted to athletes and entertainers who excel in certain international competitions linked to national prestige.
Since the South Korea project interrupts young men in their professional careers or studies, the avoidance of military duties or the creation of exemptions is a very sensitive issue. Opinion polls in recent weeks have shown that the public is divided on whether BTS members should serve in the military.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.