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TOKYO (AP) -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Friday it wants to close one of its car assembly plants in Japan by the end of 2005 to speed up cost cuts as the money-losing automaker battles a major scandal over defect cover-ups.

The Tokyo-based company had announced earlier this year that it will close its Okazaki plant in central Japan within the next four years as part of an overhaul of its operations.

Mitsubishi Motors' sales have plunged after it announced recalls of thousands of cars and trucks after acknowledging it had hidden auto defects. The carmaker had a similar scandal four years ago, when it admitted to a systematic cover-up of defects spanning decades and promised to stop the practice.

Mitsubishi Motors proposed this week to its labor union a plan to start sending the 1,600 workers at the Okazaki plant from July 2005 to other Mitsubishi sites to shutter the plant by the end of next year, a company spokesman said on condition of anonymity. The union will reply to the proposal by the end of this month, he said.

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close more... i don't think the sales are going to rise any time soon....
 
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