This model is really disappointing to me, you could probably find an ebony boarded 7VWH from back in the day in the same ballpark price wise.
The market - buyers and stores - indicate new axes are desirable especially since Ibanez/dealers don't make $$$ on used private sales. Plus stores don't generally want MIJ $3k white/gold superstrats handles hanging around showrooms these days. I'm sure Vai+Ibanez prefer having new JEMs in retail that sell too.
Ibanez is what it is today because of the JEM and i think it deserves its spot at the top of the pyramid (no pun intended) and that means MIJ!
That is an emotional opinion but Ibanez did fine before the JEM and perhaps would be a better company today if Vai went w/ Tom A. We'll never know. But you're cherry picking facts... forget they were in dire straits in the early 90s as JEM/UVs were distributor & dealer closeouts (S marked UVs anyone)?
The JEM line used to represent the top of the line Ibanez, the most creatively styled axe they have to offer, not living in the past but pushing into the future.
When was this? The original JEM was Vai's modified Roadstar/RG550 and the combo of a smart, reliable artist (Vai) matched with Ibanez global distribution network was a win. Sure they sold some pricey JEM/UV limited editions to aging shred fanatics (fishing in a barrel) but the "top of the line" in terms of quality was never bolt on superstrats.
Removing JEM/Vai from the convo, the industry barely needs super pricey MIJ, non-customizable Ibanez superstrats at this point though. Maybe Vai/Ibanez sees this before the superfans?