K-pop boy band BTS will not be granted exemption from military service and member Jin will have to enlist next year.

Minister Park Yang-woo of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) said that BTS and other popular K-pop stars will have to do their mandatory duty under new guidelines.

“In the case of BTS, I personally wish I could allow exemptions for them under certain standards, but the Military Manpower Administration and the Ministry of National Defense (in charge of conscription) are inclined to downsize the overall scope (of exemption),” Park said, Yonhap News reported.

BTS2 - BTS not exempted from military service

BTS in Osaka, Japan (Facebook/BTS)

The current law in South Korea gives military service exemptions to winners in 29 international music competitions, 12 international dance contests, seven arts contests in Korea, and those who win gold, silver and bronze medals in the Olympics, and gold medal in the Asian Games.

Petitions have been filed on the website of Korean President Moon Jae-in including calling for the granting of military service exemption to BTS; postponing their military service until they are 35; or suggesting that members should enlist together and be stationed at the disputed Liancourt Rocks, a group of islets called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima by Japan.

“Unlike classical arts or sports, it is difficult to fix the criteria of the selection in the popular culture and arts fields, which makes it difficult to institutionalize (a waiver system),” Park added.

Fans have cited BTS’ role in uplifting the image of South Korea on the global stage including topping music charts, winning international awards and holding sold-out concerts.

A revised rule by the MMA states that Korean men must enlist by 28 years old from the previous 30.

Jin, born on Dec. 4, 1992, is the eldest BTS member. He is required to enlist by 2020 when he becomes 28 years old, Yonhap News added.

Last October, Big Hit Entertainment, BTS’ agency, denied that Jin would be enlisting this year after Rep. Ahn Min-suk of the Democratic Party of Korea, who chairs the National Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that “I think one of BTS’s members will enlist this year, and it seems that the decision that popular artists won’t receive military service exemption has been enacted,” Osen reported.

Korean stars who are expected to enlist are placed under stricter rules when it comes to their overseas trips including concerts.

“So far, (TV) entertainers after age 25 have faced hefty restrictions in going abroad, but (the new guidelines) are moving toward removing the restrictions for those recommended by the culture minister,” Park added.

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