This article provides a retrospective look at the Japanese model of industrial development. This model combined an institutional approach to production based around the Japanese Firm (Aoki's, J-mode) and strategic state intervention in industry by the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). For a long period, the alignment of state and corporate interests appeared to match the wider public interest as the Japanese economy prospered. However, since the early 1990s, the global ambitions of the corporate sector have contributed to a significant 'hollowing out' of Japan's industrial base. As the world today looks for a new direction in economic management, we suggest the Japanese model provides policy-makers with a salutary lesson in tying the wider public interest with those of the corporate sector.