When the consumption tax finally hits 10 percent next month, the government plans to seize the opportunity to dramatically accelerate Japan's shift to cashless payments through a rebate program.

But with Japan's roughly 20 percent rate for cashless payments lagging other countries, is it possible to persuade mom-and-pop shops, backstreet pubs and cozy, decades-old coffee shops to invest in the infrastructure and let processing fees erode their profits?

Yoko Watanabe, who runs a cash-only dry cleaner in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, is one of the small-business owners inclined to offer a digital payment option. While conceding more customers are likely to patronize stores with cashless options when the tax hike and rebates start on Oct. 1, she's taking a wait-and-see attitude.