All this is public information, avaiable on the web.
I encourage you to take initiative and verify this (and ALL) information independently, for yourself.
First we need to understand there is a * manufactured* difference in the "MADE In Japan" Fenders, and the "CRAFTED In Japan" Fender guitars.
While a "CRAFTED" In Japan guitar with a serial number starting with the letter "A" would have been made in 1997 or 1998.
For more on the MADE vs CRAFTED thing, see the Guide I authored titled "MADE In Japan - vs - CRAFTED In Japan Fender Guitar(s)" .
The Fender Japan serial numbering system is - on the face of it - a little more complex than the Fender USA system.
work differently than Fender USA guitar serial numbers.
This guide explains the basic differences between Fender USA guitar serial numbering, and Fender Japan serial numbering.
If you already have a basic understanding of the USA serial numbering system, just skip down to the next Bold Centered text.Most readers of this are probably already aware that Fender USA guitar serial numbers "theoretically" follow a pattern.They were designed to help identify the approximate manufacturing date of the guitar.For example: a guitar whose serial number begins with the letter and number "E8", would have "theoretically" been manufactured in 1988 (E = in the Eighties, 8 = the 8th year...so, 1988); a Fender USA guitar serial starting "N4" would "theoretically" mean 1994 (N = in the Nineties, 4 = the 4th year... The "theoretically" appears in the previous paragraph a number of times for these reasons: the serial numbering system for USA Fenders has been more accurate in recent years, and that the Fender Japan serial numbering system has had a few quirks of its own... Additionally, Fender USA sometimes adds letters to the serial number to make special designations.so, 1994); a Fender USA guitar serial starting "Z3" would "theoretically" mean 2003 (Z = 2000, 3 = in the 3rd year... For example, the US Fender serial number DZ575xxxx, would designate a Deluxe (the "D") guitar made in 2005.