George S. Ledyard
The ASU succession is quite clear, it's Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei. There will no particular turmoil associated with this I don't believe. Ikeda Sensei is pretty universally respected, admired and liked.
No way would Ikeda Sensei's qualifications be in question. But I think what many are asking is this: Even though ASU might have put this mechanism in place, and Saotome Sensei himself has designated a successor, how would you and the other folks in ASU react when that time comes, and suddenly some other Shihan jumps off a plane with a letter from Aikikai Hombu putting him in charge, rather than Ikeda Sensei. It seems that you are proposing that Aikikai should be within their rights to do this to everybody, and I just can't see it as realistic, even in your own organization. Imagine the difficulty with those organizations whose ties with Hombu are looser, or whose internally-chosen successors are perhaps not Japanese.