Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday voiced regret over a recent year-end dinner where he appeared to flout social-distancing guidelines designed to help halt the virus’s spread as his government faces flak for its handling of the coronavirus response.

“There was enough distance with other people,” Suga told reporters when asked about the dinner with top party executives. “But I’d like to profoundly reflect on the fact that it gave the wrong impression.”

Suga joined six others, including senior officials with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, on Monday evening for a gathering at a high-end steak restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district, according to media reports. All were over 70, a high-risk age group for the virus.