People wear masks in Tokyo, where coronavirus cases are on the rise ©Getty Images

There are at least 143 new coronavirus cases in Tokyo as the spread of the virus in the Japanese capital continues to grow exponentially.

Tokyo now has 1,034 confirmed cases - more than double any other prefecture.

Yesterday's increase of 118 new cases had been the first time the daily rise was above 100.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has so far resisted calls to declare a state of emergency, but the rising number of cases is only making the calls for him to do so stronger.

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura and Satoshi Kamayachi, a member of the Japan Medical Association Executive Board who also acts as an expert on a Government panel, have both been quoted by Kyodo News advocating for a state of emergency to be brought in in the past week.

The Tokyo Skytree has been lit up with a message of support amid the pandemic ©Getty Images
The Tokyo Skytree has been lit up with a message of support amid the pandemic ©Getty Images

For now, the Japanese Government has not done so, but people in Tokyo were asked to stay in their homes this weekend if possible, just as they were last weekend.

Abe has announced that every household in Japan will receive two cloth facemasks which can be washed and reused, but critics say these will be ineffective in protecting people.

The sharp increase in coronavirus cases underlines why it was necessary for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be postponed.

However, the spread of the virus in Japan has been slower than in many other nations, especially the United State and several in Europe.

In excess of 1.2 million cases have been reported worldwide, with more than 65,000 people dying.