Swire has taken an award-winning author to London's High Court to get him to change his latest best-selling novel because it identifies the company with the opium trade. Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans tells the story of an English detective attempting to unravel the mystery of his parents' disappearance in pre-war Shanghai where his father worked for Butterfield and Swire. The company is described as making vast profits by importing opium through Shanghai and turning millions of people into helpless addicts with the help of Chinese warlords, in the run-up to World War II. Swire denies it was involved in the opium trade and has demanded the novel be changed and a fictional company name used. The case will be settled in court. Publisher Faber and Faber has said it will agree to changes in future editions. 'Ishiguro used the name because he believed that at that time trading in opium in China was completely legal and he thought nothing more about it,' said managing director Toby Faber. The publisher said the company would make a formal declaration in court that it would undertake that in all future editions and in foreign and paperback versions a different name would be used. The novel has been on the bestseller list since it was published six weeks ago and so far has sold more than 43,000 copies in Britain. Peter Johansen, finance director of John Swire and Co, said the company wanted to ensure the change was made because it was worried about its reputation. The company traded under the name Butterfield and Swire in Hong Kong, Japan and on the mainland until a corporate restructuring in 1974. 'There has been a concern that it could damage our image in Hong Kong and China even though we were never involved in the opium trade,' Mr Johansen said. The author had assured Swire there had been no attempt to defame the company but the firm was proceeding with the legal action to get a formal statement in the High Court. Ishiguro was born in Japan but went to Britain when he was five in 1954, and has published five widely acclaimed novels. His The Remains of the Day, published in 1989 and a Booker Prize winner, became an international best seller with more than one million copies sold of the English-language edition alone. It was adapted into a film starring Anthony Hopkins.