Posts tagged problem

Problem Based Learning Reflection

PBL stances for problem based learning and it encourages students to learn any subject interactively by simulated experience. I personally thought that it was a great idea, however, there were some drawbacks to this type of learning. First is that somehow the purpose of learning became vague and the process inclined too much toward acting and presentation. In my opinion, I thought that it would be a great way of practicing some real presentation skills, however, it was not suitable for learning economics.

Unfortunately, I woke up late this morning and showed up late for the PBL presentation. However, I did get a chance to answer last question. I tried to understand what the speaker was saying and tried to answer that question. Yet, I was not prepared because I did not know what my teammates said before I came. So I thought that if I said something wrong it would be inconsistent with what our teammates have said. If I have the opportunity next time, I would surely show up on time and be ready.


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“Yabeやべ! I’m screwed” Toyota Recall – The Deep Root of the Problem

Toyota President Akio Toyoda bows

CNN Money: Click Here

Reuters: Click Here

Yabeやべ (Oh shit)! I’m screwed.’ That’s what Akio Toyoda, the Toyota president, might have said to himself on February 5th when he bowed apologizing for the safety issues regarding its gas pedal.

According to CNN Money, Toyota Motor Sales USA is recalling 2.3 million vehicles to correct a problem that could cause the vehicles’ gas pedals to stick. This recall will definitely affect Toyota’s reputation and its sales globally.

Now, lets get to the question of ‘how did Toyota get in this mess?’ There are several reasons why this recall happened, however, there is one core reason that led to this tragedy of Toyota.

December 21, 2009, Toyota announced that cut auto parts costs by 30 percent. According to media, Toyota canceled contracts between its auto parts partners in Japan and made new contracts with much cheaper auto parts partners (mostly outside of Japan). In my opinion, Toyota’s pedal problem was caused mainly by the cheap auto parts it used.

I do not think Toyota was dumb enough to forget that by using cheap auto parts it’ll create some safety problems. Then, why did Toyota use cheap auto parts? If you look deeply into the core of the problem, you can easily find out that it was an inevitable decision. It is deeply related to current recession world-wide and the low exchange rate of yen per 1 US dollar.

As you see on the graph, the exchange rate had been falling for 5 years. The red line shows the declining trend of yen to US dollar. It has fell from 124yen
(highest) to 86yen(lowest). As yen to US dollar got lower, Toyota experienced difficulty in exporting its cars to US because the car price became expensive in US. With the low exchange rate, it really was hard for Toyota to compete against other car makers such as Hyundai. Hyundai is a car maker based on Korea, however, it has been lucky because of the high exchange rate of Korean Won to USD. It was possible for this car maker to provide cars at much lower price compared to Toyota. So, Toyota was losing in price competition.

Toyota’s Stock Price in Yen

So, Toyota had to cut down its auto parts price by 30% in order to survive in this price competition. However, this was too much price cut, which basically caused the safety issues of Toyota cars. As a result, Toyota was forced to recall its 2.3 millions of cars by the US Congress. Also, the stock prices of Toyota fell from 4250yen to 3250yen. Notice how it fell after Toyota’s recall announcement from Jan mid to Feb mid. 4250 yen to 3250yen is certainly a great loss to many investors.

In conclusion, Toyota’s pedal problem was caused by using cheap auto parts. It may have been bitter lesson for Toyota to not to use cheap auto parts to the degree it hurts the car’s safety. Looking at Toyota’s Stock Price graph, I think many Toyota investors would be whining because of their loss.

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Opinion: Japan Recruits Foreign Nurses to Care for Elderly


Click Here: News Article

Just like U.K., Japan is recruiting foreign nurses to solve the problem of scarcity of nursing workforce. This is a typical problem for many developed countries with large old population.

In my opinion,  Japanese government’s decision was somewhat hasty. Although there are influx of international population in Japan, Japan is still considered to be ‘xenophobic.’ The recruitment of foreign nurses would surely stir some problems such as discrimination. Even the response of Japan Nursing Association was somewhat xenophobic. This problem would not be apparent initially, however, it could be aggravated to diplomatic problem between Japan and the foreign country.

Other than problems of Japanese’ detest of foreign nurses, there is another problem with this decision. Most of the recruitment of foreign nurses were made in developing countries. If Japan recruits all these medical workforce, developing countries might have shortage of medical resource. It would be snatching away doctors and nurses from developing countries which would need the most medical support.

About developing robots to nurse the old population, I think that it is somewhat inhumane. I think that old people should be nursed through social interaction, not with mechanical interaction.

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