||Well your engine is def a 96+ you can tell by the TPS. The JDM models switched over to the type the 96 USDM use at some point as well though. I think I see your EVAP vacuum check switch there as well next to the hood switch thats specific to the 96 USDM, but it appears to have fallen from its factory mount point. Your ECU is correct then.
VVT can be added to a 96, I think SZ wrote a blog about doing it before.
In all likely hood whoever did the timing belt before you didn't know that 96 models didn't have VVT and just put them in anyway.