On the whole, MIJ basses are great bang for buck and have amazing quality. As with all bases any one year will have some real players but also some dogs. One thing you might want to look for is that some of the cheaper MIJ basses have basswood bodies while the more expensive ones may have alder or ash, depending on the series. Some people don't like basswood because it's a "cheap" wood, but you should make your judgement about it. You can't go wrong with a good Jazz bass. $800 USD is a bit steep for a basswood bodied one, but a bargain for an alder bodied one especially considering the pickups.
Just try before you buy and if it speaks to you, you'll know.
Also, if you haven't, join up on Ozbassforum.com, it's like TalkBass... but Australian. There will be plenty of people who can help out with the more local side of things.
Never underestimate the root note.