Actually, I am surprised that this topic has generated such interest, given the robust attitude of some AikiWeb members towards organizations.
There really weren't any formal rules - that's what the regulations were intended to address, and that's clear from what Tani says in his statement. I'm fine with that, the only problem I have is that the regulations ought to be applied inside Japan as well.
I think there would be major problems with applying the international regulations to Japan. The organizational structure of the Aikikai in Japan is far more fluid and contentious than is commonly acknowledged. People overseas might have the image of a smoothly running organizational machine, presided over by Doshu, and the annual jamboree known as the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration might seem strong evidence of such an image. However, the reality is somewhat different.
The All-Japan Aikido Federation is a very ghostly organization. As I was once told, and by an Hombu official, no less, this organization has no real substance. My own dojos, for example, are not members. In fact, we are functioning quite happily without belonging to any organizations at all. We are independent with a direct line to the Aikikai Hombu. So I myself do not belong to any of Mr Tani's four categories of 'official' shihan and this is just fine.