Former President Bill Clinton, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, actor Robert De Niro, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos are among the distinguished guests arriving at the White House Wednesday evening for an official state dinner with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The glitzy, black-tie dinner is among the highest diplomatic tools a White House can employ to honor a top ally, with the meticulously planned event aimed at intertwining and highlighting American and Japanese cultures as President Joe Biden seeks to emphasize the strong alliance between the two countries. Guests are arriving at a grand entrance decorated with oversized, colorful fans – a symbol of life and the many paths life can take, according to the office of the first lady.

A guest list released Wednesday included other notable names – Olympic champion figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, who is Japanese American, Apple CEO Tim Cook, BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and Microsoft president Brad Smith.

Other top political allies of the president will be on hand: United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain and former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.

Biden Cabinet secretaries in attendance include Secretary of State Antony Blinken; Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who faces a pending impeachment trial in the Senate; Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm; and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. The guest list also includes Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield and White House chief of staff Jeff Zients.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, and NASA administrator Bill Nelson will also be in attendance.

Asked as he entered how he was feeling about the upcoming presidential election, where Biden is set for a rematch with former President Donald Trump, De Niro told a reporter, “What do you think?”

As he arrived, Nelson described his experience viewing the solar eclipse earlier this week in Cleveland, Ohio.

“It was fabulous,” Nelson told reporters.

Sen. Bill Hagerty, a Tennessee Republican who previously served as US ambassador to Japan during the Trump administration, will attend, along with the current ambassador, Rahm Emanuel.

NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell, who is the president of the White House Correspondents Association, will attend, as well as Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin.

Vice President Kamala Harris is attending, alongside second gentleman Doug Emhoff. And the Bidens are hosting Democratic governors, including Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York, Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin, and Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina. Other Democratic politicians include Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Like previous state dinners, members of the Biden family will also be in attendance: The president and first lady’s daughter Ashley Biden will attend with husband Howard Krein, as well as granddaughters Finnegan Biden and Naomi Biden Neal, and Naomi’s husband, Peter Neal.

The evening will include a post-dinner performance by musician Paul Simon, one of the first lady’s favorite artists.

First lady Jill Biden chose Simon to perform at the state dinner because Kishida also “shares an appreciation” for his work, a White House official said.

It’s not the first time the Bidens have used musical diplomacy for major foreign leader visits. The state dinner for South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol featured a Broadway star’s performance of Don McLean’s “American Pie” – a personal favorite of Yoon. It led to one of the iconic state dinner moments of the Biden presidency – Yoon picking up a microphone to serenade guests with a few lines from the song.

CNN’s Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.


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