And you don't have to do atemi. You can also understand atemi as potential strikes that can be included or deliberately omitted at various points during a technique.
I agree. Also, to me, atemi is/are simply part of not allowing any openings. For me, to think of it as a strike is not the right mind-set, and can quickly turn nage into uke. If it flows organically from the overall process of alignment, musubi, tsukuri etc., it's a different thing altogether.