iv always just looked at Japanese products reflect on Japanese culture.. they are perfectionist. its a culture thing to be the best.. so i can only assume the made in japan fenders are as good as the parts they had the build them. the labor will be top notch. ( throw in the variable of wood.. and you wil have winners and losers like in all models from all guitar companys.. good thing we all hear different and we all like something a little different ) my made in Mexico fender FSR proves to me.. its all about using the right parts, good manufacturing practices.. sharp tools. some pride.. and you can have a grat axe from any country.. now i will blame the higher prices have nothing to do with quality parse.. and its just collectors trying to manipulate the market.. . chris.