Although Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had to settle for a virtual meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, the online summit proved fruitful for the Japanese leader, as the two sides agreed to set up an economic version of a "two-plus-two" ministerial meeting.

The launch of the meetings, similar to security talks involving the allies’ foreign and defense chiefs, comes as Japan and other Asian nations have urged the United States to take a more active economic role in the Indo-Pacific after the administration of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. It also comes as China continues to see its economic clout grow in the region.

“The president wanted it to be known clearly that he was going to continue to step up our game in the Indo-Pacific across the board on issues ranging from diplomacy to military security, and also to trade,” a senior U.S. official told reporters on condition of anonymity.