TOKYO (AP) _ Major Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Tuesday it will cut 9,900 more jobs in a bid to boost competitiveness.

Under the plan, Mitsubishi Motors's total work force will be reduced to 78,900 employees from 88,800 last year, for a reduction of 11 percent, the company said in a release. The cuts will be carried out by March 2004.

The reductions will be achieved mainly through attrition, including reducing the number of new hires and utilizing early retirement programs offering special benefits, said a Mitsubishi spokesman who gave only his surname, Sekino.

The move by Mitsubishi Motors, Japan's fourth-largest automaker, is the latest in a wave of corporate restructuring announced by some of Japan's top companies amid a long economic slump.

Sekino said the new cuts were part of an ongoing restructuring program. In fiscal year 1998, the company reduced 2,500 jobs. Tuesday's announced cuts will bring the total to 12,400, or 13.6 percent of Mitsubishi's global work force, the company said.

Faced with poor sales in Japan and the rest of Asia, Mitsubishi posted its first-ever earnings loss on a group, or consolidated, basis in the fiscal year ended March 1998.

The company then began implementing its restructuring program. Mitsubishi rebounded to a slight profit the following fiscal year.

Earlier this month, Japan's second-largest automaker, Nissan Motor Co., announced it will trim 21,000 employees worldwide, or 14 percent of its group work force. Earlier this year, Renault SA of France obtained a 36.8-percent stake in Nissan.