BTS member Jin/Courtesy of HYBE

Korea delves into military conscription policy

This might be the last chance for BTS member Jin, who is supposed to leave the K-pop boy band this year to join the military. But the Korean government has yet to give good news to BTS fans.

The country’s unicameral National Assembly discussed the issue last year as 16 lawmakers had come up with a revised bill on increasing the incentive for athletes or musicians in the military exemption.

But the parliament failed to reach definite conclusions as people were split into two opposing camps regarding the military exemption for the seven-member boy band.

In Korea, men between the age of 18 and 28 should serve at least 21 months in the military. Last year, however, the National Assembly enabled some musicians to delay the age limit to 30.

Jin, who was born in 1992, could postpone his conscription thanks to the revision. However, he cannot delay it beyond next year 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 2028 while leader RM’s deadline for military enlistment is 2025.

The other four members of Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, and V would be required to go for military service between 2024 and 2026 at the latest.

It remains to be seen how BTS and its agency Hybe 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.

Against this backdrop, all eyes are on President-Elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who will take charge of the administration this May after winning the recent election.

“It would be a difficult issue for the incoming president because there are so many opinions on the military services of BTS,” Prof. Seo Yong-gu at Sookmyung Women’s University said.

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.