BTS member Jin/Courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment

Korean gov’t opts not to change military conscription policy

This might be the last chance for BTS member Jin, who is supposed to leave the K-pop boy band next year to join the military. But the Korean government opted not to give good news to BTS fans.

Government officials recently said that the country will not increase the incentive for athletes or musicians in military exemption.

The Seoul administration established a task force this year to discuss whether or not to change the rules on military conscription for athletes and artists.

In Korea, men between the age of 18 and 28 should serve at least 21 months in the military.

Male athletes can avoid a mandatory stint in the military in case they win a medal at the Olympics or top the podium at the Asian Games. The same benefit goes for those who win first or second place at an international arts competition.

By contrast, winners of a pop music competition such as the Billboard albums chart are not allowed to merit military exemption. This prompted critics to cry foul at the current rules.

However, the government decided not to change the policy, which means that BTS members will have to enlist into the army beginning 2020 although they won so many pop music competitions.

Jin, who was born in 1992, cannot delay his conscription beyond next June under the current rules.

As a Korean, it’s natural,” Jin once said. “And, someday, when duty calls we’ll be ready to respond and do our best.”

Jungkook, who was born in 1997, can delay his conscription to 2026 while leader RM’s deadline for military enlistment is 2023.

The other four members of Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, and V would be required to go for military service between 2022 and 2024 at the latest.

It remains to be seen how BTS and its agency Big Hit Entertainment would deal with Jin’s departure. Some worry that BTS will split up while others expect that it will become a six member band or a new boy will take part in the popular act.


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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.