If supply of alternative payment options could whip up its own demand, Japan would be near-cashless by now.

Since that’s far from reality, the government is giving people a helpful nudge, prompting them to use their mobile wallets more often than their physical ones.

The Japanese preference for cash is well-known. The surprise is that it refuses to die despite an abundance of other choices. In addition to credit and debit cards — and their digital versions — most large retailers now accept at least half a dozen QR code-based services. For small-value purchases at the corner store, transport providers’ stored-value cards and their mobile-app avatars are a popular substitute for yen banknotes.