A Japanese television network signed a commercial agreement to send a Japanese journalist into space in 1991 aboard a Soviet spacecraft, making him the first Japanese and the first reporter to make a space flight.

Under the agreement signed Monday between the Tokyo Broadcasting System and the Soviet Glavkosmos space agency, a Japanese journalist will fly to the Mir orbiting space station on an eight-day mission.The amount the Japanese network is paying to Glavkosmos for the 1991 flight was not disclosed, but the deal represents a breakthrough for the Soviets in their efforts to strike commercial deals using their space technology.

Although people from 13 countries have flown on with Soviet cosmonauts, all missions were part of government agreements. The contract signed Monday is a commercial deal.