The South Korean government lodged a protest with Japan on Saturday over Japanese media reports that say Seoul is considering relocating a statue of a girl symbolizing the "comfort women" that was installed in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry summoned a senior official of the Japanese Embassy and explained that it is not for the South Korean government to say what to do about the statue because it was put up by a civic group, according to a ministry official.

Some Japanese media organizations have reported, citing unnamed South Korean government sources, that South Korea would consider relocating the statue if Tokyo offers conditions acceptable to Seoul in talks to settle the long-standing dispute.