It seems that with the era of the parental controls and on-disc data for games ratings region locking is going to be a feature of all Nintendo systems.
“Nintendo has no plans to remove region locking from our systems. By taking this approach, Nintendo is able to include parental controls and ensure compliance with regional standards and rating systems.”
While there may be a way around this through firmware, no doubt it would include a lot of code to make up for this. A system that can read the games information and either do a comparative to local standards or look-up the games ratings through an internet connected device to get the relevant regions rating would require a lot of coding, and in essence slow down a system significantly.
Nintendo have always been the company to put parental frame of mind at the forefront, they take their corporate social responsibility seriously. They want their systems to be available for anyone and everyone, but they aren’t willing to leave it in a state that their responsibilities to parents go wayward. They respect the right for anyone to have any content they wish but also want parents to have the tools to filter content they don’t deem to be appropriate for their children.
Which is why they feel that region locking, no matter how unpopular, is a necessity on their devices.