Going to the original article, which is quite interesting, there is a fair amount of discussion about why Japan has so many old businesses. I am always fascinated by the history and culture of Japan. I was stunned by this fact, of which I had been completely unaware. From Why Are so Many of the World's Oldest Businesses in Japan? by Dan Kopf.
Most of Japan’s oldest companies also boast of being “family run” for dozens of generations. But for some of these companies, the reality of this claim is far from the truth: in cases where there is no son to inherit a business, or where a Japanese CEO “desires a better quality son than nature provided,” an heir is legally adopted. For centuries, Japanese business owners have engaged in this practice.
Japanese adult adoption dates back to the Tokugawa era (1603-1867), when merchants sought free labor for field work. Initially considered to be demeaning and emasculating, being adopted as an adult became “more intertwined with family firms and capitalism” in the 20th century, and took on a connotation of prestige and opportunism.
Today, 98% of Japan’s 81,000 adoptees are males between the ages of 25 and 30 — many of whom are businessmen who are legally adopted by the owners of corporations and put in management positions. This way, the “family owned and operated” claim technically remains intact, without the risk of passing on a legacy to a less-than-capable son or nephew. Through a technique called “Mukoyōshi,” a business owner with no male heirs to his company can also legally adopt his daughter’s husband as a “second-birth son.” Even in the rare case that a thoroughly vetted male adoptee fails in his leadership role, he can be disinherited, and another heir can be adopted to take his place.