#1
So I started out on a cheap Ibanez starter pack acoustic and I never upgraded. I've been playing for 5 years but I stopped playing my acoustic guitar once I started getting some good electrics. I want to get back into it. I want something good. I pretty much don't know anything about the construction or tonal properties of acoustics. I'm looking into acoustic electrics because I can just plug it in if I gig with it and then I'm not restricted to standing in front of a mic. Are there any negatives with that? I'm also thinking about getting a 12-string because I like their sound. What are the differences and potential problems with 12-strings beside the 6 extra strings. And can I remove those extra strings if I only want 6-strings (or any other strange number like 10) at a particular moment in my life without any problems? I also find that I prefer the craftsmanship of Japanese guitars when it comes to electrics. Are Japanese acoustics as good as Japanese Electrics? And is that Takamine even made in Japan? Is Takamine a good company and is that particular model good? And last question, are locking tuners also good for acoustics? I love them for my electrics.

http://www.takamine.com/?fa=detail&mid=134&sid=66

I'm very open to different options. Around $1200 is my budget though.
#2
the problems with getting a 12 string are that they're much harder to fingerpick, and harder to play leads with using a pick but mostly not all songs sound good with a 12 string. if you remove those 6 strings, your guitar will be difficult to play as there's a lot more space between the strings.

for your budget, you have some good options. first off, you could get a taylor 114ce or 110ce AND a cheap 12 string. true, these taylors are laminate back and sides, but they're very nice guitars that sound really good and feel great. or if you like takamines, you could get a TAN15C or TAN16C, which have a tube preamp inside the guitars and hard top and back. even better, if you want a japanese guitar, the TANs are made in japan.

and speaking of japanese guitars... yamaha's all-solid wood L series guitars are in your price range. the LS16, LJ16 and LL16 are solid, i hear great things about them and you'll have enough left over to add quality electronics. i hear that they may be making them in china, but honestly yamahas are consistently well made and well finished.

if you decide to go used, a taylor 310ce would be a very nice option.
#3
Seagull "Artist" series are great guitars with solid tops and solid backs and sides... all around great guitars and i'd highly recommend one!
#4
^--- All of that above is good advice. I'm not sure where the different lines from Takamine are made, so you'd just have to check the different models to see. I believe that all of the Takamines I own and have owned were made in Taiwan.

As for your questions about a 12 string... I wouldn't really recommend getting a 12 string as your only acoustic guitar. Some stuff just sounds better on a 6 string... actually a lot of stuff just sounds better on a 6 string imo. A 6 string guitar is just infinitely more versatile than a 12 string. And taking the octave strings off of a 12 string is not an acceptable way to get a 6 string guitar. 12 string guitars are made out of different dimensions of wood, have different bracings, and have different necks/fretboards that are all designed for having 12 strings. If you take the octave strings off, the guitar really won't play nearly as well or sound nearly as good as an actual 6 string guitar.

For recommendations in the $1200 range... I'd say that a used Taylor 300 or 400 series would be a really great option. Breedlove also has some fantastic offerings in this price range along with Takamine and Seagull. You can also get an entry level Martin (15 and 16 series and the custom D, 00, and 000 series) in this price range. If you want to save some coin or be able to get both a 6 and 12 string... have a look at the Alvarez Masterworks guitars for your 6 string. Any and all of these are worth looking into.