French tire maker Michelin on Friday blamed high costs and the economic crisis for its decision to stop tire production at its plant in Ota, Japan.
Output at the plant will stop in July and the work will be transferred to cheaper sites in Asia, Europe and North America, the company said in a statement.
Michelin said production costs at its Ota plant, which employs 380 people, are about twice as high as elsewhere.
Michelin declined to give a figure for the cost of the plant closure, saying it would be included in non-recurring costs totaling 410 million euros (about $589 million) for 2009.
It said it is holding talks with employee representatives at the Ota factory to help workers affected by the restructuring.
Michelin ranks No. 40 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers, with sales to automakers of $4.29 billion in 2008.