Saotome entered Hombu Dojo as an uchideshi in 1961. O-sensei died in 1969. Eight years. In a decade when Morihei didn't teach a regular class at Hombu dojo. Between 1955 and 1961, Saotome was in Kuwamori Dojo and then Kyoto. Since he couldn't be in two places at once, then he wasn't on the mat at Hombu with Morihei.
This inflation of one's closeness to Morihei occurs with many shihan who went abroad. Each one is supposed to be Osensei's "favorite uke" or some such title.
I doubt your claims, I doubt your sources (what are they again), I doubt their claims, I question your conclusions, I reject your efforts at narrowing definitions. In the end it doesn't matter.
You would rather discuss dates, one point of argument, rather than the claim you are hoping to support. You are arguing that Saotome Sensei, in particular, spent little time with O Sensei and therefore learned very little from him, Etc. Your central claim that you hope to perpetuate is at issue.
I notice the lack of response to the rest of my post above. Saotome Sensei was personally trained by O Sensei, it was an intense and close experience, and there is ample evidence for this. He was prominently used as an Uke on the demonstration videos, he taught for Hombu, he traveled with O Sensei, he was recognized as a senior instructor, and so forth. To accuse him of "inflation of one's closeness to Morihei" ignores all the evidence to the contrary. Moreover, it is the greatest of insults to my teacher. I think it is meant to be such. And yes he is one of my teachers though I know him from seminars and trainings, and through the teachings he gave to my seniors. It is not my opinion. I would never make such a claim if he hadn't said so.
I note that the ASU members who so often defend the coalition around internal training and the historical revisionism, who host seminars for this coalition, who attack me or allow others to attack me, are silent as our teacher is accused of dishonesty. Part of Budo is loyalty. Budo men indeed.
Now some will yell that they never so accused him. Or that they didn't all accuse him. Hit and run. Attack then change the subject.