Former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai announced Monday that he would not seek reelection, saying he felt responsible for a slush funds scandal that has engulfed him, his faction, and his party.

His move comes as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prepares to hand down punishments next month to more than 80 party members who kept off-the-books funds from the sale of event tickets.

Nikai told a news conference in Tokyo that he had conveyed his decision to Kishida.