TOKYO (AP) _ Citibank said Friday it plans to open 11 new branches in Japan over the next year, expanding the number to 30 from 19 branches now.

The U.S. bank said it will open new outlets in several locations in Tokyo.

Citibank will also set up branches in Sapporo, on the northern island of Hokkaido; in Sendai, north of Tokyo; and in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Fukuoka in western Japan.

Citibank said it plans to hire about 300 new employees.

It said it plans to use its expanded base to promote direct sales of investment trusts _ Japan's version of mutual funds _ from December, when restrictions on such sales are set to be lifted.

U.S. banks and brokerages have been scrambling to set up offices in Japan amidst a sweeping program of financial deregulation that is expected to open the market to foreign competition.