Novelist Naoki Hyakuta, an NHK governor who has drawn flak for a series of inflammatory remarks, including his public denial of the 1937 Rape of Nanking, will resign from the broadcaster's management committee when his term expires at the end of February, sources said Saturday.

Hyakuta, 58, who has close ties with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been a constant source of controversy since his appointment as one of NHK's 12 governors in November 2013.

In February 2014, during a campaign speech for Toshio Tamogami, a right-wing politician running in Tokyo's gubernatorial race, Hyakuta said the 1937 Rape of Nanking by Japanese troops in China never happened. This drew an outcry from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, where a official in charge of press operations said the U.S. government's consensus view was that Hyakuta's comments were "preposterous."