BTS’ agency HYBE issued an official statement on Monday confirming that all seven members of the K-pop group will serve their mandatory military duties without any special exemptions.
The news comes just days after their free “Yet To Come” concert, which was held in Busan on Saturday as part of their efforts to help the South Korean city host the 2030 World Expo.
“BIGHIT MUSIC is proud to announce today that the members of BTS are currently moving forward with plans to fulfill their military service,” the official statement reads in part. “After the phenomenal concert to support Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030, and as each individual embarks on solo endeavors, it’s the perfect time and the members of BTS are honored to serve.”
The statement also notes that Jin, who is BTS’ oldest member, is slated to enlist first since he turns 30 in December. He will “initiate the process” following the conclusion of his scheduled solo release later this month. Jin announced this upcoming release during BTS’ Busan concert over the weekend.
Currently, all able-bodied South Korean men must enlist for two years of military service by the time they turn 28. However, the members of BTS were allowed to defer this by two years due to a revision to the Military Service Act dubbed the “BTS law.”
With Jin set to enlist first, HYBE notes that BTS’ other members will start serving “based on their own individual plans.” The group is expected to fully reconvene “around 2025.”
HYBE concludes their statement by noting that following the release of BTS’ anthology album “Proof” this past summer, they allowed the septet to pursue solo endeavors, and they are “beyond proud” that each member will have “time to explore their unique interests and do their duty by being of service to the country they call home.”
“’Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)’” is more than a track from their latest album, it is a promise, there’s much more yet to come in the years ahead from BTS,” HYBE declares.
The recent announcement puts an end to the ongoing debate regarding BTS’ military enlistment. Earlier this month, South Korean defense minister Lee Jong-sup said it is “desirable that members of BTS carry out their mandatory military service.”
That comment was in response to a proposal from lawmaker Kim Young-bae of the Democratic Party of Korea who wanted to revise the current provisions and expand the list of exceptions for military service to include pop artists who have made significant cultural contributions. The current law allows decorated athletes and top classical musicians to be exempt from mandatory military service.
In August, Lee suggested that even if BTS were to serve in the military, they should still be allowed to perform overseas. In April, South Korean Ambassador to Britain Gunn Kim claimed that it is “very much expected” that BTS would enlist. One month later, South Korea’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Hwang Hee said BTS should be allowed an alternative to enlistment.
The mayor of Busan, Park Heong-joon, has also suggested that instead of embarking on military service, the K-pop act could serve as PR ambassadors responsible for promoting Busan’s Expo bid.