Whether it's 'REAL' power or perceived power, it's still a position of power.
Here's another look - the sensei should consider himself or herself the servant of the student - not the other way around. The student pays a fee to learn from the sensei - the sensei doesn't pay the student to train 'under' him or her.
There is no difference between perceived or real power in this case. Such a distinction could be used in any uneven power situation to place blame on the victim of the abuse. If there is a perceived power differential in the mind of the abused, the perception is reality.
The idea of a student being a customer of the dojo cho seems sorely lacking in a number of places.
Dan Richards! Wonderful thinking and writing, what we need more of in Aikido. More leadership, ethics, accountability. Less worship.