NAGOYA (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. is considering hiring skilled assembly workers from Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s factory in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, to work at its factories in the prefecture, Toyota officials said Friday.

“We have begun considering (accepting them) informally by taking into account the impact on the regional economy” of a planned shutdown of MMC’s Okazaki assembly plant, a Toyota spokesman said.

On May 21, MMC said it planned to close the 1,600-worker Okazaki factory by the end of 2005 as part of restructuring efforts. MMC has been hurt by a series of defect coverups and recalls.

Toyota’s global marketing activities are faring well, leading its domestic factories to operate at full production capacity and creating a shortage of highly skilled workers.

MMC officials have said the automaker plans to transfer 1,260 of the workers to another factory in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, by the end of 2005.

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