Japan’s interest rates have been grounded for 30 years. Now one bank is seeking people with 1980s-era experience akin to aviator Pete "Maverick” Mitchell to navigate their take-off.

While it may be a stretch to liken regional banking to the dogfighting of Tom Cruise’s Top Gun character, that’s exactly how Tatsuya Kataoka describes his bank’s challenges in anticipation of borrowing costs finally rising in coming years.

"Rates have been falling since the 1990s,” said Kataoka, 56, who joined Concordia Financial Group in 1990 and became its president last year. "There are very few who experienced rising rates, not just at our bank but probably at others.”