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TOKYO, May 7 (Kyodo) — Mitsubishi Motors Corp. cut operating hours Monday at its Mizushima plant in Okayama Prefecture due to sluggish exports, with plans to send some 500 surplus workers to other plants and its minivehicle alliance partner Nissan Motor Co., company officials said Monday.

Nissan Motor Kyushu Co. in Kanda, Fukuoka Prefecture, will accept some 110 of the surplus workers by the end of this month, they said.

Mitsubishi suspended night operations at the plant, which has produced such vehicle models as the Lancer for export, and has been affected by the European debt crisis and the yen's appreciation.

Vehicle output at the plant in fiscal 2012 to next March is expected to decline significantly from about 330,000 units in fiscal 2011, with its operating rate falling to some 60 percent from about 70 percent.

Mitsubishi plans to increase the overseas share of its global production to 57 percent at the end of March 2012 from 49 percent a year earlier by increasing production in emerging countries to insulate it from the yen's appreciation.

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