Photo/IllutrationA copy of the letter of complaint sent to Osaka prefectural police by the Osaka Bar Association (Satoko Onuki)

OSAKA--A woman was forced to go braless by police during a court appearance here.

“Imagine how a woman would feel being told she has to appear in front of people without a bra,” said a lawyer involved.

The decision to deny the woman in her 40s a bra was slammed as a "breach of human rights" in an official letter of complaint filed on Oct. 31 by the Osaka Bar Association to Osaka prefectural police.

Her "sense of shame was violated," the letter, which demanded better treatment for female defendants, also stated.

The woman asked for a bra when she was to first appear in the court in July, but police refused, according to the bar association.

Wearing a bra is not permitted in a police facility, where she was being kept prior to her court appearance.

An Osaka prefectural police official told The Asahi Shimbun that women are stripped of their bras in police custody as there is “a risk that it would be used to injure themselves,” but said police “grant it upon request for court appearances.”

“In terms of this case, we have no record of receiving a request from the defendant,” the official said. “We will look into the bar association’s complaint."

The National Police Agency has set a guideline for prefectural police departments, in principle, to allow female defendants to wear bras upon request when they go to court. However, the agency admitted it does not know how the local police are acting on the principle.

Prefectural police of Hyogo and Kyoto said they do not allow women to wear bras in police custody, but allow it for court appearances upon request when they appear in court.

The Osaka Detention House differs from police detention facilities and an official there said women are, in principle, allowed to wear sports bras both while in the facility as well as when they go to court.