Japan started construction work Thursday for a Self-Defense Force base on an uninhabited island in Kagoshima Prefecture, the Defense Ministry said, under a plan to relocate military drills using U.S. carrier-borne fighter jets.

In the work expected to last four years on Mage Island in Kagoshima, the ministry will first build runways and ammunition storage facilities, according to an environmental assessment report made public earlier in the day.

The project will pave the way for the relocation of the practice site for U.S. fighter jets from Iwoto Island in the Pacific, about 1,250 kilometers south of Tokyo, following the construction work on the 8 square km island.