I once asked a Japanese flutist what she thought of Yamaha flutes and she said that the reputation that Yamaha has in Japan is horrible because Yamaha sells a higher quality instrument to the United States and the instruments Yamaha sells in Japan are of a lower quality.
That being said, ask your local music store about the international flute. My local store sells the YFL-222 and I recommend that my beginners get it. It's a good beginner flute. Do I recommend that they stay on it through high school? No. It's a just good basic nickel silver flute.