Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has asked Toyota to hire workers from one of its domestic car plants and help parts suppliers that will be hit by the factory’s planned closure, according to Reuters.

“The talks with Toyota were started as Mitsubishi Motors intends to introduce potential local employers to workers who wish to look for a new job rather than relocate,” MMC said in a statement cited by the news agency. Negotiations with Toyota began on Tuesday, and the companies reportedly aim to finalise plans by the end of this month.

Reuters said the Okazaki plant, scheduled to shut down at the end of next year, is located near several of Toyota’s factories in Aichi prefecture, central Japan.

Mitsubishi reportedly brought forward plans to close the Okazaki plant by a year as part of an effort to speed up its restructuring process.

According to Reuters, Mitsubishi did not say how many of the 1,600 plant workers it would ask Toyota to take on, but Takashi Nishioka, chairman of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, told the Nihon Keizai business daily in an interview Toyota may hire some 200-300 workers from the plant – Mitsubishi Heavy is a major shareholder in Mitsubishi Motors.

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Toyota reportedly declined to comment on whether it would help the suppliers but has said it is looking into the possibility of absorbing some jobs at the plant in consideration of the impact on the local economy.

Mitsubishi has said that four-fifths of the workers would be transferred to its Mizushima plant in western Japan, while the rest would be redistributed to a nearby plant, that makes the Pajero model, and two engine plants, Reuters said.

Given Mitsubishi’s poor performance – sales excluding mini-vehicles sank 64% in June from a year earlier, while sales in the United States slid 48% – the Japanese government announced on Tuesday it would boost financial assistance to Mitsubishi’s subcontractors and dealers, doubling credit guarantees to 560 million yen ($US5.17 million), Reuters added.