Or not - considering that there are non-Japanese Shihan.
Frankly I don't make the distinction either with respect to title or race and would never assume that someone else who made the distinction on the former, really meant the latter.
I am certainly aware that there are non-Japanese Shihan. I just thought it was a bit strange that someone who didn't seem to have back-off about giving a 6th Dan a hard time, would turn around and say he wouldn't give a Shihan a hard time. What changed? The next Dan rank changes how you treat the person?
The fact is that Western Shihan are still rare, depending on ones organization. The Federation folks have been very good about putting their people forward so they quite few Shihan. In my organization there are no non-Japanese Shihan. I suspect that is more the norm. Many organization don't use the system at all, so the only folks called Shihan are the Japanese instructors.
Anyway, as far as I was concerned this was the only the comment seemed to make sense. Otherwise he was saying that he'd give someone like Harvey Konigsberg Sensei a hard time at 6th Dan, maybe even still give him a hard time at 7th Dan, but would stop doing so when he got his Shihan papers? I don't really believe that this was what was being implied. That's all.