I thought Harvy's rank was already registered with Hombu?
Actually, all of the yudansha ranks are "recommended" to Hombu dojo, which issues the certificates; the individual Shihan gives the test and sends the paperwork to Hombu. So you get your rank *through* your Shihan but *from* Hombu Dojo. Hombu, however, always approves what the Shihans send.
Shihan status, as a *teaching rank* is also only awarded by Hombu dojo. You're not a Shihan (as a teaching rank) unless Hombu has issued it. So I must assume that Chiba Shihan was announcing a "done deal".
As for the West Coast boys, all of their websites announce their Shihan awards, but nothing about a rank promotion. That's the reason I assumed they had not been given 7th dan.
However, we Aikidoist are falling waybehind the times. Several European Ninjas in the Bujinkan, under Grand Master Hatsumi have recently awarded several 13th dans!