Japan and China agreed to maintain a status quo on the Senkaku Islands and avoid any discussion over their respective sovereignty claims, the late Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki was quoted as saying in a 1982 conversation with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, according to British government files released this week.

The comment was reportedly made during a private conversation on Sept. 20 of that year.

According to the record, Suzuki offered advice to Thatcher on how she should handle the Chinese in negotiations over Hong Kong, then a British territory.