Since I've been away from the publishing scene in Japan for over a decade now, I can't comment on the attitude of the Japanese publishers. I was however involved in the scene during the early years of the DTP revolution. I found the attitude of the mainstream publishers and printers to be be very positive and cooperative back then despite the serious shortcomings and difficulties particular to Japanese typesetter fonts and layouts.
There's a newly coined Japanese term, "jisui
" . Its used to describe the DIY process of taking apart the bindings of a printed book, scanning using double-sided sheet feeder scanners and using OCR to create digital editions. As with any such trend, its difficult to determine how widespread it is but the fact that there is a popular term for it is indicative.
Japanese publishers have been hit quite hard by the combination of economic recession and introduction of digital media taking over te markets traditionally served by printed media. When they assess ebooks, the risk posed by digital books to the tenuous revenue from traditionally published media is the most critical issue.
The problem is, as we all know, its far too easy to overcome the DRM mechanisms currently employed to protect publishers' revenues. The introduction of digital editions will merely erode their revenues even more quickly. It has to be done, but the question is that of timing, not time.
As with so many other technological shifts, Japan has been sheltered from developments taking place elsewhere. The specifics of Japanese layouts and fonts in addition to language have sheltered the Japanese market from the full impact of the paradigm shift. Its isolation has ensured that the changes taking elsewhere have not had the urgency that it may otherwise have had. As a result, the end-user consumers may have had to wait longer.
The situation my now be changing with the imminent release of Amazon's Kindle. It is true that Kobo and EPUB3 has made it into the market before Amazon. Its also the case that the partnerships with the Japanese publishers will detemine the outcome. The description of the situation however as " the reluctance of Japanese publishers to move with the times" would be reductio ad absurdum