World’s oldest company?

I sat down today to write 300 words for a special New Media Age to mark ten years of ‘new media’ in Britain and I thought I’d just get some perspective and see if I could find out how old a business can really get. Anyway, in Japan, I learn, there’s a family-owned building firm that’s 1400 years old. They completed their first job in 598 – or at least they will do as soon as they can get a skip… (of course, this article is a year old so they’ve probably gone bust by now – which would be pretty funny, really, wouldn’t it)