I think it's because I've had to buy guitars sight unseen and I don't like to take the risk. My last two guitars were a Custom Suhr Classic T and the 30th Anniversary Jem, both of them are exceptional instruments but I didn't get to try them beforehand, you have more confidence in the higher end factories. Another part of me just likes the prestige of it (for lack of a better word), and I like the idea that my money goes towards keeping the high end factories going, I mean if everyone thought "might as well buy premium because it's really good and cheaper" there would no longer exist a Japanese manufactured Ibanez. I'm not overly fond of the idea that everything gets manufactured in China or Indonesia because nobody else can compete, at least with guitars where possible I'd rather buy something made in Japan (or the US/Europe).
I was fond of the Premium blue flower pattern Jem I played last year, but I hated the trem and the tuning stability wasn't great with it. I mean it played beautifully, was set up well and I liked the pickups but the trem put me off and I hated that big ass ugly "premium" logo above the Ibanez logo, did they really need to put it front and centre? I played an Ibanez AZ Premium at some point maybe this year or last I can't remember, either way it wasn't really for me, the neck was too chunky and it could have used a setup to get it dialled in (action was a bit high, pretty unspectacular to play).
It's not the "location" it's the reassurance of the "quality associated with the location". I'm 100% with you on that. I probably wouldn't buy a Premium sight unseen unless it came from a dealer
that would pick it out of the crowd for me, but I'd have no worries buying a Fujigen Ibanez just because of the factory where it was built.
I was the same when I tried the Premium BFP, the trem was frankly what kept me away (and the massive Premium logo didn't help either).