BTS’s Jin completes military service

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K-pop juggernaut BTS is one step closer to a reunion.

The first member of the boy band to enlist in South Korea’s army, Jin, 31, was discharged Wednesday morning, BTS’ label said. Over the next year, his bandmates are expected to complete their military service, which is required of nearly all South Korean men.

BTS shocked their own army – as the seven-member group’s fervent following is collectively known – in June 2022 when they said they would take time off to enlist. Jin, the group’s oldest member, whose birth name is Kim Seok-jin, began his 18-month stint in the army that December. His enlistment came after a long public debate over whether BTS should get an exemption from the draft, as Olympic medalists and some classical musicians do.

However, the group was given some leeway. Most men in South Korea must enlist before they turn 28. Days before Jin reached that milestone, lawmakers revised the bill to allow pop artists who boosted the nation’s reputation to defer their enlistments for two years. Researchers say BTS’ global success has contributed billions of dollars to the South Korean economy.

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