The Sharks have confirmed that Springbok wing JP Pietersen will use the latter part of this year and 2014 to take up a Japanese playing contract.
Pietersen, who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, will remain available for Durban-based franchise during their Super Rugby campaign, and will thereafter depart for Japan before returning for the start of the next Super Rugby season.
It means that he won't be available to the Sharks during their Currie Cup campaign which is generally the case due to his Springbok commitments.
He will also remain available for national selection in June and November, although he is expected to miss the Rugby Championship - in August, September and October.
Pietersen admitted to that he remained "fully committed" to the Sharks and Springboks and that his 2013 and 2014 Japanese commitments would not impact on his Super Rugby and Springbok duties.