These before and after pictures of Hiroshima are haunting

Thursday 6th August marks the 70th anniversary since the US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing at least 70,000 people outright and up to 140,000 over time as the effects of radiation sickness took hold.

The uranium bomb on Hiroshima, and another on Nagasaki three days later, was justified by the US as bringing an end to WWII and possibly saving the lives of millions more people.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in Hiroshima for memorial services today. This evening, thousands of paper lanterns will be lit and released to float down the city's Motoyasu river to symbolise the journey to the afterlife of those who died.

To mark the occasion, Reuters photographer Issei Kato compared archive photographs of the devastating destruction the bomb caused in 1945 with the city as it looks today:

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