The South Korean Foreign Ministry has sent an official letter to a district office in Busan asking that a contentious statue symbolizing the women forced into Imperial Japanese military brothels before and during the war be removed from its spot outside the Japanese Consulate, a ministry spokesman said Thursday.

"The Foreign Ministry has repeated the position the location of a statue . . . is not desirable in view of the comity of nations and international practices, and, in this regard, (the ministry) has delivered such position to the local office," ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said at a news briefing.

"It is necessary for the government, local governments and civic groups to use wisdom in thinking about where the statue of 'comfort women' be relocated in a such way to remember the 'comfort women' issue as a historical lesson for a long time," he added, using Japan's euphemism for the sex slaves.