Yamano Gakki was known for once being part of Epiphone Japan.
Fender was also losing sales in Japan to Japanese guitar brands such as Tōkai, Greco and Fernandes and the establishment of Fender Japan would benefit Fender sales in Japan, as well as overseas.
Fender began negotiations with several Japanese musical instrument distributors and reached an agreement with Yamano Gakki and Kanda Shokai to establish Fender Japan.
Entry-level Affinity Series instruments were straightforward, basic Stratocaster, Telecaster and Precision Bass guitars in black, red and white. MZ: M = Mexico, Z = 2000's, the first number following the serial number prefix is the year.
The Affinity Series paved the way for the subsequent great success of Squier instrument/amp/accessory packages, such as the Strat Pak and Bass Pak, that provided aspiring musicians with everything they need to enter the world of amplified music in a single all-in-one purchase. For example, CN/VN: C = Cor-Tek (Cort), V = Saehan(Sunghan), S was already taken by Samick so Saehan(Sunghan) used V instead (Saehan(Sunghan) made the Vester guitars), N = Nineties (1990s), the first number following the serial number prefix is the year.
Tokai was seriously considered to start building the first Japanese made Fenders, but after a breakdown in negotiations, Fuji Gen Gakki was chosen instead.