Japanese celebrities such as pop music duo Yoasobi and retired wheelchair tennis great Shingo Kunieda were among the guests at a state dinner Wednesday hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife Jill for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the White House said.

From the U.S. side, former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, a former secretary of state, along with movie star Robert De Niro and other celebrities, were on the guest list for the event to mark Kishida's state visit, the first by a Japanese premier in nine years.

Yoasobi, comprising singer-songwriter Lilas Ikuta and composer Ayase, has become popular among young people in Japan thanks to its recent smash hit "Idol." Kunieda, a winner of 28 Grand Slam titles and three Paralympic gold medals in the men's wheelchair singles, received the People's Honor Award from Kishida last year.

U.S. President Joe Biden (back R) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida toast during a state dinner at the White House in Washington on April 10, 2024. (Kyodo)

Japanese business leaders, including Masayoshi Son, CEO of investment and tech giant SoftBank Group Corp., and Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman of e-commerce giant Rakuten Group Inc., were also invited, with Kishida aiming to boost economic ties with the United States.

Earlier Wednesday, Kishida and Biden agreed at their summit to bolster their security alliance with China's increasing military and economic assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region in mind, vowing to work together to strengthen supply chains of key products.

Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide was among the guests at the dinner, which was held hours after Kishida and Biden agreed on shared goals regarding the U.S.-led lunar exploration Artemis program. The project could see a Japanese become the first non-American to land on the Moon.

Popular duo Yoasobi's Ikura (back L) and Ayase (back R) are among the guests attending a state dinner hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife Jill for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House in Washington on April 10, 2024. (Kyodo)

On Tuesday, the White House said the state dinner would be filled with colors evoking Japan and springtime, cherry blossoms, koi carp, fans, and feature menu items such as shiso leaf tempura and matcha ganache.

After the summit on Wednesday, Kishida participated in a ceremony to commemorate Japan's gift to the United States of 250 cherry trees, which will be planted around the Tidal Basin in Washington, the Foreign Ministry said.

In 1912, 3,000 cherry trees were sent to Washington by then Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki. The growing number of cherry trees planted around the Tidal Basin along the Potomac River has become a symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States.

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