The real problem is the lack of standards. Japan has e-wallets, there is Google Wallet and now it looks like there will be a third and incompatible Apple wallet.
There are standards. Japan is its own world, but the Google Wallet and ISIS (a consortium of mobile network operators and banks who created the ISIS wallet -- yes they're looking for a new name) relies on standard EMV payment protocols -- slightly modified by the US Visa, MC, AMEX and Discover organizations, but not incompatibly so. Apple will follow the EMV standards as well, or they'll get nowhere, because retailers are a slow-moving, cost-conscious group.
Visa and MasterCard announced two years ago that they'll implement the "liability shift" the end of 2015, which means that from 2016 onward 100% of fraud will be charged to whichever entity in the chain (merchant, merchant acquirer, clearing house, issuer) does not have the EMV smart chip technology implemented. Since merchants get stuck with 98% of fraud, and other links in the chain are moving slowly, this will provide a huge incentive for merchants to install EMV-capable point of sale terminals. That doesn't require them to deploy NFC-capable terminals, but they will, and many of them are.
Not even Apple is capable of creating an entirely new payment ecosystem. They'll play ball with the banks and card associations, or they'll go nowhere.