I’m in Europe and I do use akadama either on its own or mixed with pumice and lava. The mix is a great cost saving measure and reduces potential problems. In my opinion, a lot of the negative experiences with akadama came from the shitty brands that were sold in Europe 20 years ago and by lack of experience.
I did some testing with various soils when I was still in Germany (2006 to 2016) and akadama survived the shitty weather I had (down to -25C in the winter, excessive rain in fall/winter/spring, up to 42C in the summer). My biggest issue with akadama (apart from price) was that the water retention was too high for the wet season. I had to protect pots from the rain so the roots could dry every once in a while. I had a similar issue with lava on its own. Some akadama turned almost rubbery after the first winter, no akadama turned to mud between repottings. Some of the kittydama recommended at the time on B4ME (not the DE, the other one) turned into solid blocks after a few months and the trees in that substrate couldn’t be repotted without taking a hammer to the root ball. The substrate Walter Pall recommended at the time, MaxIT Clay, was dirt cheap (8€ for 50 liters in 1-4 mm) but required mixing with peat as it was a leca.
I haven’t tried Ibuki’s sieved mix, but some members of my club bought a few bags this year to try it. They can’t say anything good or bad yet.
Good quality akadama is flash dried at 300C for simple logistics reasons: dry akadama is more resistant to handling than wet akadama. Drying it before bagging (and keeping it dry in transit) ensures a higher yield on the production line and less losses in delivery. Some places dry the akadama with hot air, some places with a tumbler on top of fire.