It's the UK importers who decide which guitars are imported to the UK, not the Japanese that refuse to send specific models.
The UK importers have sales figures telling them what sells and what doesn't and they act on those to stay in business...
And yes, importing privately from Rich is an amazing idea. Just make sure to get the best setup level he offers, it's simply unreal!
That is acctually not correct.
It is Ibanez that decides what models are for USA and what are for Europe etc.
It is not the distributors that decides that, or even have much (or anything) to say about it.
They can sometimes get hold on USA models if they get a demand for it, but far from all the time. And they have to specifically ask for it, it is not offered to them otherwise.
But it is, as you say, sales figures that decides what goes where.
Maple boards just don't sell as good over here in Europe.
Many people on the net always say "that with a maple board and I would be all over it", but sales clearly show that they don't when it arrives with a maple board.