Why are people seeing this as an issue at all? This isn't Nintendo being evil or greedy. In the US at least, the consoles and the Gamepads fall under a metric TON of FCC regulations. One example is the fact that Nintendo is not licensed to use the radio frequencies the system uses to communicate with the Gamepad outdoors, which is one of the reasons for the limitation of how far the signal reaches. There are other laws regarding the amount of shielding that is needed in the controllers, laws about which frequencies can be used, and even laws about how much interference the controllers should accept from other sources.
That's just the US. I'd be pretty dang sure Japan has its own, different rules and regulations, same with Europe. This is most likely the biggest reason for the region locking.