The coronavirus is strangling the nation’s labor market, which just months ago was in desperate need of manpower, and may end up leaving a gaping scar.

Although the government was set to lift the state of emergency in most of the 47 prefectures on Thursday, some economists say Japan will need to brace for massive job losses this year that could surpass those from the 2008 financial crisis.

The crisis, which caused the collapse of storied investment bank Lehman Brothers among others, created havoc in Japan's manufacturing industry. But this time, economists say hundreds of thousands of jobs — possibly even over a million — are at stake in the service sector due to the nature of the pandemic, which is restricting personal contact.