This is the fourth volume in the author’s series recounting the exploits of bank officer Naoki Hanzawa as he grapples with mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, and a variety of other thorny financial problems his company faces. Placing principle above personal advancement, Hanzawa stands tall against the forces of evil, and lives by the credo of giving double the payback whenever he’s been wronged?a way of life that has struck a chord in particular with viewers of the television series based on the books.
In this installment, Tokyo Chūō Bank and a group of associated financial institutions have extended a total of ?50 billion in loans to Teikoku Airlines. When it appears that servicing the loans has become too much for the Underwriting Department, the president of TCB orders Hanzawa’s department to take over. Shortly thereafter, the ruling government party suffers major losses in a general election, and the opposition party comes to power. As part of its wholesale rejection of the previous government’s policies, the newly ascendant party targets the massive debt held by Teikoku Airlines, which the previous government had been temporizing over. A private advisory group to the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport begins leaning on the banks to write off 70% of the loans across the board.
Meanwhile, Hanzawa uncovers evidence that TCB’s predecessor, Tokyo Daiichi Bank, colluded with politicians to help create slush funds for them. Forces within the bank who wish to keep these shenanigans under wraps push for acceding to the politicians’ demands and writing off the debt in spite of the huge losses it will entail. Hanzawa must battle their machinations at every turn. However, his uncompromising, by-the-book approach puts the president in the awkward position of having to issue an apology.
In addition to the land minister’s overstepping, the Financial Services Agency gets involved, and the plot takes numerous twists and turns. But Hanzawa relentlessly pursues misdeeds within the bank, exposes the schemes by which politicians within the new government are enriching themselves at public expense, lays the truth out for the public via the media, and thereby saves the bank from having to take massive write-offs.