Don’t get too excited about seeing every BTS member on tour just yet. It’s possible that BTS’ Jin can’t travel in 2020 due to new South Korean government regulations announced on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. According to the new legislation, mandatory military service still applies even to celebrities—and the only way to get out of serving in the military is to get special permission.
These new regulations definitely apply to Jin, who is 27 years old and would normally be required to enlist in the South Korean military for two years by the age of 28. Here’s the arrangement: by 2020, any celebrity over the age of 27 who hasn’t yet completed their mandatory service will be required to gain “special permission” to engage in their overseas promotional work in lieu of service. And only the head of South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) can grant this permission.
According to the MCST, this celebrity work must also “help spread Korean culture” to the rest of the world. BTS pretty much just finished their Love Yourself world tour, so it’s not like they have immediate plans to get back on the road. And while the group hasn’t announced any tour dates for 2020 quite yet, this news does provide a possible solution to someone like Jin—should he get approved by the head of the MCST, of course.
After all, approvals for military service waivers are reportedly about to become more difficult to obtain. New regulations announced by the South Korean government last month include stricter enforcement of waiver eligibility, as well as fewer exemptions to be granted each year. At the same time, the government announced that any male K-pop star would still be required to serve.
Jin isn’t so phased by the possibility. He’s stated that he’s ready to serve when he’s called upon. “As a Korean, it’s natural and someday, when duty calls, BTS will be ready to respond and do our best,” he said to CBS Sunday Morning in April.