PREX was established in April 1990 in Osaka as a result of the strong will and fervent desire of Kansai business owners for regional development, and from consensus and cooperation between industry, academia, and government. In the 20 years since its establishment, PREX has carried out more than 400 training seminars, and through these, has succeeded in promoting exchange and mutual understanding with people mainly from around Asia, but also from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Central and South America, and Oceania. Through the support and cooperation of interested parties, PREX has also steadily strengthened its basis as a key organization for the development of human resources in developing countries, and for the promotion of international human exchanges.
Since PREX was established, it has used its flexibility as a private body to achieve partnerships and cooperation between private business, government-affiliated organizations, regional governments, and organizations for international cooperation. With the aim of contributing towards the development of societies and economies in developing countries, it has implemented training seminars in the fields of industrial development over many years, succeeding in accumulating know-how, and in enhancing its overall coordination capabilities. Themes include business management, export promotion, marketing, small and medium business promotion, the environment, tourism promotion, and regional development. PREX actively creates seminar planning proposals, and expands seminar programs utilizing external funds.
126 countries and regions have participated in these training seminars, and alumni associations have over 2,200 members in 13 countries and regions. The network comprising participants and local organizations around the world is an important resource for PREX.
At present, there are 13 PREX alumni associations around the world, in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China as a whole, Chongqing, Central Asia, Mongolia, Mexico, Myanmar, and Laos. In addition to exchange between members at each of these alumni associations, PREX offers support and cooperation, carrying out systematic follow-up activities, and has succeeded in maintaining and strengthening networks of personnel.
80% of PREX's original basic fund of the ¥3.393 billion which is used for its operation comes from 97 businesses in the Kansai region, and the remaining 20% is donated by six local governments. PREX's executive structure combines industry, academia, and government from Kansai, from which it also receives support and cooperation in business administration. Since its establishment, half of the PREX secretariat has comprised of executives and mid-career personnel who are dispatched from leading companies in Kansai and who kindly provide their services without compensation. In the last 20 years, 73 members have been dispatched to PREX from 19 companies. Personnel costs for full-time employees, office rental, and office running costs are covered by operating revenue from the basic fund. Training and exchange programs are commissioned by ODA organizations, state organizations, economic associations, or overseas organizations as a result of requests from other parties, or from plans and proposals issued by PREX, and are implemented using funding sourced from external organizations. Right from its establishment up until the present, PREX has not received any operational grant funding from national or local government. Furthermore, there is no patronage system, nor any revenue from membership fees.
In the 20 years since its establishment, PREX has created a strong network of approximately 500 lecturers and specialists who have rich experience and know-how in fields such as business administration, small and medium business promotion, export promotion, marketing, the environment, regional development, and tourism promotion, and who have a keen interest in international cooperation.
Every year, PREX ask approximately 300 businesses and groups for their cooperation in PREX training seminars. PREX uses its training seminars to promote assistance for two-way interaction with those supporting and cooperating in providing these seminars. PREX also holds seminars that are open to the public in which participants can participate as panelists, and uses the "Kansai Program" that promotes the appeal of the Kansai region in the training curriculum. From 2004, we have worked in cooperation with Kansai international cooperation organizations, and have organized half-day home visits with Japanese families.