Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?
Well I'm looking at the long-term vision. I think the time is coming when people will stop looking to the *mystical* orient for the goods. As I understand it, the situation is currently that instead of letting all people who achieve martial power/ability equal to or surpassing that of the super shihan become super shihan themselves - the best they can hope for is an internal title. And you might not think it matters, but as George Ledyard explained, he makes his living teaching aikido, and he is just not going to get the same exposure as someone with the big title.
Also, the shihan are the people who get the money when the 1.5 million people in aikido pay dues and pay for testing. Seems like Japan is trying to ensure that the money continues flowing in their direction. I suppose it just seems like we could think this all through and potentially come up a long term vision of our own that you know keeps US dollars in the US. But maybe I'm thinking a bit too much about the schools closing down in Detroit right now and it's coloring my through process.