Japanese vehicle exports in May fell 55.9% from a year earlier to 233,217 units - the eighth straight month of decline, according to JAMA. The sharp contraction reflects plummeting shipments to collapsed markets in Europe and North America.

JAMA also said that domestic vehicle production in the month dropped 41.4 percent from a year before to 542,282 units, also marking the eighth consecutive month of fall.

Japan's top five carmakers made domestic plant output cuts ranging from 36.3% to 60% year on year last month, according to industry data.

Of the five - Toyota, Nissan Motor, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi - the latter made the largest cut of 60% to 24,793 units while Nissan trimmed production 36.3% to 63,859 units.

Toyota reported a 41.9% fall to 192,637 units, Honda was down 43% to 52,663 units and Mazda cut production 42.9% to 50,065 units.

The five's global production also declined, with Mitsubishi reporting the largest cut of 54.6% to 44,902 units, the lowest since its spinoff of the Fuso truck and bus unit in 2003.

Nissan's volume declined the least - 27.0% to 201,340 units.

Toyota worldwide output fell 38.8% to 442,621 units, Honda's fell 38.4% to 195,085 units, and Mazda's was down 37.0% to 66,531 units, according to Kyodo News.

Domestic sales also fell at all five automakers, although some nonetheless made progress cutting back inventories.

Toyota officials told just-auto earlier this month that they thought production had "bottomed out" in May after the automaker made better than expected progress selling down inventory world-wide.