As Jin‘s deferment from military service draws to a close, there’s one question on everyone’s mind: will BTS be granted an exemption?
In South Korea, all men are required to enlist in the military by their 28th birthday, with few exceptions. Athletes who have won medals in the Olympics or Asian Games are exempt from serving, but no such exemptions existed for K-Pop stars until 2020.
In December of 2020, just days before Jin‘s 28th birthday, South Korea passed the so-called “BTS Law.” Male K-Pop entertainers who have received government medals for their domestic and global cultural contributions can now apply for a deferment until the age of 30.
When 2022 comes to an end, so will Jin’s two-year extension. The uncertainty surrounding BTS’s military enlistment is affecting business for the group’s agency, HYBE.
[Military service] is an important duty for our country. So I feel that I will try to work as hard as I can and do the most I can until I am called.
— Jin, Rolling Stone magazine
HYBE’s share prices fluctuated last Friday, after it was announced that Ahn Cheol Soo, part of President-Elect Yoon Seok Yeol’s transition committee, would visit HYBE. The transition committee is focusing on preparing alternative methods of military service for highly accomplished artists like BTS, who have been recognized as cultural ambassadors.
On Friday, prior to Ahn’s visit to HYBE and the 2022 GRAMMYs, HYBE’s share prices jumped 4.36%. On the following Monday, the prices dropped 2.94%. According to HMC Investment & Securities analyst Kim Hyun Yong, two major factors contributed to the drop.
HYBE’s value went down for two reasons Monday. One is due to the military issue, and the other is due to BTS’s failure to win a GRAMMY. HYBE shares would have rocketed if BTS members were exempted from military service, or if they were able to complete their service while remaining active professionally.
— Kim Hyun Yong
BTS’s military service was not discussed during Ahn’s visit. Ahn told UPI that the new administration will make a decision about BTS’s possible exemption, through National Assembly debates, sometime after the President-Elect takes office on May 9.