The teens, many of them students, work 12-hour days for half of what adult coworkers earn, sources say.
Numbers of those kidnapped differ in North Korean and Japanese statements, and some may still be held.
Sources say the reduced monitoring has facilitated the smuggling of restricted goods.
Prime Minister commends North Korean leader’s “new attitude,” calls for pursuing good relations with Pyongyang.
North Korea merely reaffirms an earlier commitment to denuclearizing, with no specific timetable.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un make history by meeting, but doubts hang over any nuclear deal.
Authorities want to prevent possible disorder inside the isolated country during the key talks in Singapore.
Controls by China relax after Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping meet in March and May.
The letter comes five days before US President Donald Trump meets with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
State Security agents are pressuring family members to convince their relatives to return home.
Authorities are watching citizens for signs of prohibited money and movies from the South.
The domestic propaganda campaign includes phrasing that indicates Pyongyang will not give up its nuclear capabilities.
Meanwhile, most North Koreans are unaware the talks were even cancelled.
Gone With The Wind, with its themes of civil war and hardship, is a particular favorite, one source says.
Few believe summit meetings with rival South Korea and the US will improve their lives, sources say.
The warning comes after the North calls off talks with South Korea over US-South joint exercises.
An unknown number are killed or injured when a blaze blamed on faulty wiring sweeps through a workers' barracks.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo secures their freedom during an unannounced trip to the North.
High-rise apartments are being offered in Sinuiju city for purchase and investment opportunities, sources say.
A former North Korean diplomat discusses why Kim won’t agree to an irreversible denuclearization.
The coupons, issued to the country's elite, are then sold to ordinary citizens at twelve times their real value.
Pyongyang tells its trade workers to arrange investments, look for openings as tensions ease.
Analysts say definitions and a plan of action are needed to ensure the talks lead to progress.
Others who know about them are reluctant to say so, for fear of the police.
Some say trust must be earned, but others suggest a treaty could ease Kim’s mind over ending his weapons program.
Official media say nuclear production facilities and test sites are being closed, however.
The plant could not likely obtain material necessary for its operations under sanctions supported by China, a source says.
North Korean media meanwhile highlight joint performances calling for 'unification' of the Korean peninsula.
Busloads of workers are seen going into China, with fewer seen making the return trip.