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Shanghai expo song cut over plagiarism charges

2010. 22 April

( A celebrity-studded song for the World Expo in Shanghai carrying a tune similar to a Japanese ballad released more than a decade ago has been pulled following a barrage of embarrassing plagiarism charges.

The first day of a trial run of the expo started Tuesday without the song after plagiarism rumors surfaced when Internet users noticed the song, "2010, Waiting for You," carried a tune nearly identical to that of singer-songwriter Mayo Okamoto's 1997 ballad, "Stay the Way You Are."

Expo organizers suspended use of the song, which featured Hong Kong action star and singer Jackie Chan and other Chinese celebrities, citing "copyright issues," a notice posted on the expo's official Web site said.

The controversy began after local media outlets reported comments by outraged Internet users who demanded the song's removal.

That apparently prompted organizers to seek permission to use the melody, with Okamoto's office in Japan issuing a statement Monday saying expo organizers had asked for approval to use the song.

"I am honored to have a chance to cooperate with the Shanghai expo, to which the whole world is paying attention," Okamoto said in a statement issued Monday.

It was not immediately known if the song will be used again. Calls to the expo organizer's office went unanswered Tuesday, and Okamoto's office also declined to comment.

"2010, Waiting for You," is not the official song of the expo. It was selected for promotional use during a 30-day countdown to the official opening on May 1, according to the expo Web site.

The Shanghai expo is likely to be the largest world fair in history, with 70 million visitors expected to attend in the six months before it closes Oct. 31.